San Bernardo Chapel

Special Prize Winner - Category: Sharing public spaces

San Bernardo Chapel black and white with clay blocks; Brick Award 2018 Special Prize Winner Category "Sharing Public Spaces"; Nicolás Campodonico Estudio; Photo: Nicolás Esteban Campodonico
© Nicolás Campodonico
Chapel building "San Bernardo" in La Playosa/Argentinia
© Wienerberger

Key facts

San Bernardo Chapel

Architects   Nicolás Campodonico Estudio, Argentina

Location   La Playosa, Argentina

Construction period   06/2012 - 04/2015

Nomination category   Sharing public spaces

Purpose   Place of worship

Brick type   Clay blocks


About the project

The San Bernardo Chapel is a small masterpiece. A sensitive dealing with the location, an imagi­native engagement with the principle of church construction, an equally simple as well as diverse and impressive shape, and a concentrated reduction are combined to make this worship place extraordinary. The chapel is located in the Argentine Pampa, neither running water nor electricity is available at the site itself. Whereas the exterior of the building is bordered by straight surfaces, the interior is characterized by curved ones.


The interior, constructed with traditional craftsman­ship, impresses due to the way the architect deals with light, which plays an essential role for Christianity. The aperture that opens to the west captures the light of the sun that one can see wandering along the wall. Two wooden poles are arranged on the gallery, one vertically, the other horizontally. The course of the sun, which projects the shad­ows of the two wooden poles as lines on the interior surface of the chapel, gradually brings these shadow lines together and lets them ultimately appear as a cross. For the architect this is a symbol­ization of the way Jesus went.

“In the plains there are no stones or woods, just earth. The brick is the Pampa’s ‘natural’ material, so it is the only material used.” - Nicolás Campodonico, Nicolás Campodonico Estudio

Made with raw material and traditional building methods, this chapel represents simplicity in its most beautiful way.

Winners 22 and 20