Design

A Sacred Space of Serene Harmony

The Living Chapel consists of a mosaic-like array of local plants grown on a structure made of recycled materials, including discarded oil drums. These function as musical steel pan drums, played by the dripping water of the solar-powered irrigation system. Imagined as a contemporary living version of the Porziuncola, Saint Francis’s chapel in Assisi, the Living Chapel’s four plant walls have lengths identical to those of his chapel.

The Chapel is conceived as a manifestation of serene harmony between human-crafted materials and living plants, united to express the call of Laudato Si’ for each of us to be transformed through a personal ecological conversion. The chapel’s framework is made from recycled materials including discarded oil barrels and scrap auto metal. These rejected materials have been transformed into a structure that will support and nurture a rich abundance of living plants and bring glory to God.

The Chapel invites visitors on a journey of hope, redemption, and personal transformation. Guests first encounter old, rusted oil barrels containing soil, seeds, and small plants. As they approach the central Chapel area, they will see the oil barrels coalescing and becoming integrated with the living plants to form a unified structure. Stepping through a cross-shaped entranceway, they will enter into the centre of the Chapel. This area for prayer and meditation will be bathed in the serene music of water-activated steel pan drums (discarded oil barrels, repurposed for the creation of beauty) built into the interior sides of the walls. The exit area opens into a garden of “forgotten fruits” — rare and threatened plants native to central Italy, including many varieties of distinctive fruits that have been overlooked or rejected by our modern commercial system.

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