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The Wall RIBA Competition – 1st phase winning project

 

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This architecture floats over the water and can be accessed by a long ramp that symbolizes the water separated by the strength of God, as on the Red Sea, where the power of the listened prayers makes God open a passage for the people to escape.
The Wall lays over a stretch of water, an inviolable sacred space. It also reflects the architecture, giving an atmosphere of abstraction, like a dimension without time.
The main idea that moves the project is that this Wall is at the same time heavy and lightweight. A prayer is heavy because it carries big problems that weights a lot over human shoulders. People elevates the prayers to God, so it is a suspended act, on air like on a metaphysical atmosphere. So, even if It is made of a hard material which symbolizes the faith, this Wall has no foundations and is floating over the people, an abstract entity between us and God.

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The whole architecture is intended to be open to all the religions of the world, so it is conceived to have a neutral design where the christian references are not invasive, but the plan is designed to symbolize the christian hug to the whole faithful communities of the world, as done by Bernini on San Pietro square in Rome.
It also take some influences from the buddhist and islamic temples, where the external access gates get the visitor access to the outer sacred space of the temple. Once entered inside the temple, the first area testify the presence of God and after that there is a more inner sacred space. The whole visitor path is a journey deeper in the faith.
The wall surface have compressions and expansions, shaping the internal space in two: a visiting area where people cal read or listen the stories about the answered prayers, and a more sacred space for mediation.

 

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The ramp is designed to lower of the visitor’s perspective, so the wall, the water and the outside can be seen simultaneously, because God is everywhere.
The surface of the wall begin curve at the bottom and became straight at the top, due to its shape there is more space on the lower layers. This creates holes between bricks, where the the light can enter.
On the upper part the holes vanish so the entire wall can be a protection from winds and the rains, even this place is more intended to be a sanctuary or a temple rather than a classical church.
The structure of the wall is a complex surface made by modular concrete running bricks interlocked one each other by metal connectors. The entire structure resists by shape because its static behavior can be assimilated to the archer, the concrete absorb the vertical stress whereas the metal connectors let the entire structure resist to the horizontal stress.

 

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