Sacred Symmetry


Where Minimalism meets Majesty

Nestled in an urban fabric, between a leafy, low-rise residential suburb and towering apartment buildings, a small, pristine white chapel emerges as a simplified multifunctional sanctuary. This space reinvents and complements the need for solitude in prayer and meditation. Far from prophesying the church of the future, the concept of minimalism underscores the essence of the space, paying homage to early Christian buildings with a simple yet significant genus loci. The focus lies on the sensory experience of a contemporary space, transcending mere materiality. The Chapel finds its home on the Doxa Deo Campus in Brooklyn, Pretoria.

The guiding force

The building footprint’s form was guided by the narrow space between a single-storey administrative building and the processional entrance adjacent to the main church building. Responding to the site, the plan took shape as the sacred number seven and its mirrored representation, later unfolding into a curved design that establishes two points: a beginning (Alpha) at the entrance and an end (Omega) at the cross behind the altar. Symbolic elements and materials, such as light, water, timber, and white, were introduced. While subtle references to Christianity persist, these symbols remain open to interpretation, allowing the space to unfold and speak for itself. A majestic Leopard tree already graces the entrance courtyard, evolving into a new olive tree landscape, extending the sanctuary provided by the Chapel—the Olive Garden.

The structure

To accentuate the Chapel’s airy appearance, a clad light steel frame structure became the obvious building system. This choice allowed the curved walls and roof panels to seemingly float on different planes, ushering natural light into the space. The combination of smooth and textured walls adds depth to the relatively small façade. The dramatic, pointed roof cantilever accentuates the point of entry.


Grand entrance

A water fountain in the entrance courtyard cascades into a flowing stream, framing the curved façade. The cantilevered structure appears to hover over the water, its sound muting the city noises. A bridge to the entrance courtyard serves as a transitional element into the space of meditation and spirituality.

The contrast of space and materiality

The interior deliberately contrasts the clean, white (holy) exterior. Flush timber panelling and slats create a warm, comfortable, and inviting atmosphere for silent prayer and meditation. The curved form and slatted wall panels contribute to a pleasant acoustic value and a muted atmosphere.

Let there be light

Narrow fenestration and skylight slots in the chapel’s envelope allow natural light to permeate the space. Opaque skylights, mirroring the building’s shape, subtly reveal the substructure. The ever-changing patterns resulting from the sun’s movement bestow a unique character upon this space, inviting appreciation in its evolving essence.



The building’s ventilation relies on thermal convection. Windows on the southern façade, at floor level, draw cool air over flowing water, expelling warm air through windows on the opposite side beneath the roof. This process creates a natural airflow. The walls, with superior insulation properties, ensure precise climate control. Solar studies indicate a heat gain factor during winter months, enhancing the interior’s warmth.


Chapel benches are mobile, fostering a flexible interior that adapts to varying uses and future needs. With a conventional layout accommodating up to 40 people, the space remains versatile.

Beacon of light

Illuminated at night, the chapel remains accessible 24/7 while preserving its internal solitude. The natural light qualities of the fenestration transform subtly, revealing the illuminated interior after dark. Strategically placed strip lights along the façade turn it into an urban anchor, seamlessly integrating it into its surroundings.


Latest issue

Sign up to our mailing list

You may also like

Subscribe to our mailing list

Join our mailing list and keep up-to-date with our publications and news.