This Architecture Building Is The Most Attractive.
Named after an American missionary of the late 19th century, the Luce Memorial Chapel was added to the campus of Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan. It was designed by Chen Chi-Kwan, an artist and architect, in collaboration with the infamous architect I.M. Pei.
Initially beginning in April of 1954, the construction of the Luce Memorial Chapel took place from September 1962 until November 1963. Upon culmination of the construction period, the Chapel ended up costing the university around $125,000 total.
Set on an irregular hexagonal base, the chapel occupies a site of 12,000 square meters of the campus, providing 477 square meters of floor area, including a nave with 500 seats, a chancel and robing rooms. The four manipulated planes that make up the walls of the church stretch 19.2m high, establishing a central focal landmark on the campus.
I.M. Pei was careful to design specific to the environmental context of Taiwan, with walls made of reinforced concrete to provide earthquake stability and durability in the humid and typhoon-prone environment. Construction of the intricate and elaborate formwork was done locally by craftsmen.
To work with the desired form, ribs reinforced the curvature of the surfaces and thicken as they descend, in order to prevent buckling of the materials.
The exterior of the chapel is covered in glazed diamond-shaped tiles that stand out against the sky and green backdrop of the university.
The interior reflects similar diamond shapes, as the concrete coffers become thicker and the shapes gradually diminish in size as they near the bottom of the structure, since stresses are concentrated near the ground.
The upward extending swoop of the walls culminates in a steel cross, which marks the chapel as a sanctuary for students and professors of the university.
The walls seem to stand independently of each other, but are actually connected by glazed slots and by small structural bow ties that are cast into the high ridge beams at the top near the ceiling.
The chapel is located on a 3-acre zone in the center of campus, and is set on an irregular hexagonal base, providing 477 m² of gross floor area, including the 245 m² nave (with 500 seats), 81 m² chancel, and 44 m² robing rooms. The church itself is a tent-like conoid structure, with four warped leaves rising to 19.2 m high, establishing itself as a central landmark on campus.
The chapel was first conceived as a multi-planar, wooden structure, but the architects soon abandoned the idea of using wood due both to the humid environment and to seismic concerns. The form of four curved surfaces built with reinforced concrete was likely influenced by the design of the Philips Pavilion, designed by renowned architect Le Corbusier for the Brussels World’s Fair (known as Expo 58) in 1958. However, unlike the Philips Pavilion and other contemporary ruled-surface buildings of the era, Luce Chapel is not a thin-shell structure.
The chapel’s planes are composed of lattice beams that gradually grow thicker as they descend. The structural concept might be influenced by that of the Yale University Art Gallery, completed in 1953 and designed by Louis Kahn, another noted architect of the time. The exterior of the Chapel is covered with yellow, glazed, diamond-shaped tiles echoing the diamond-shaped coffer beams on the building’s interior. The Chapel’s elaborate reinforced concrete formwork was created by local craftsmen.