plano humano arquitectos has built a chapel at the national scout’s activities camp (CNAE), which is sited in the municipality of idanha-a-nova in portugal. the project was conceived for the 23rd national jamboree of portuguese catholic scouts, which involved about 22,000 participants. the chosen location is privileged, and is surrounded by a rural environment with extraordinary panoramic views of the landscape.
the spacial experience begins with the access route to the chapel, a gradual passage to a more introspective environment. this area is delineated by a wooden fence — composed of spaced poles — sufficient to delimit the space, yet purposely open to exhibit the chapel in plain sight.
the chapel is dedicated to our lady of fatima and is inspired by the scouting experience: outdoor life, camping, the tent, and by the sobriety and simplicity of buildings and lifestyle. the pointy edges of the building allude to the scout’s scarf, the symbol of vow and commitment of this movement.
plano humano arquitectos designed the chapel as a large tent, with doors open to everyone at all times — a constant welcoming point for shelter, contemplation, and introspection. its very simple form of a classical tent, is formed by a gable roof, adapted to receive all visitors. the structure approaches people in the entrance area, where the volume is lower and narrower, closer to the human scale, and stretches forward and upward, elevating the user to something higher, facing a dazzling landscape in background, that amplifies these sensations.
the east/west orientation of the chapel enables the sunrise to illuminate its interior space, and the sunset to fill the place with an immensity of colors, tones and ambiences, that arouse the eye and sustain the architectural arrangement. during fall and winter, the light emphasizes the tranquility of the place, and the unadorned symbiosis between building and landscape.
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