Saint Rafellu’s Church is a proposed pilgrimage church which will host several thousand pilgrims at certain times of the year. Due to the large number of visitors, the church requires a transitional outdoor area to cater for large masses.
The site is located within an existing large carpark on a cliff at Clovelly beach. My idea was to reconfigure the carpark into a sloped, amphitheatre-like parking grid so that it is able to function as both a community parking facility and host large numbers of pilgrims when required.
The church is designed with a pavilion-like structure so that it can be fully opened. This allows the nave to operate both oriented to the East (to fulfil the requirement of the second coming of Christ, which is believed to be from the East), as well as towards the North, facing the amphitheatre carpark.
The church consists of a series of pre-fabricated concrete vaults, separated from one another by skylights. The spacing between the vaults allow for natural lighting, while the windows on the vaults are made of stained glass. The combination of natural and stained glass lighting allows for a natural lit interior with a holy ambience.
A descending staircase to the change rooms is built into the pool of the baptistery. After a baptism, the members descend the staircase to access the change rooms. The visual effect of entering the water signifies full body immersion in baptism.
A shared lounge between the sacristy/ vestry is used to access a staircase to the monastery on the floor beneath. The monastery is built into the cliff and overlooks the ocean to provide a sense of serenity and a place of contemplation.