Saturday, 16 May 2009

VATICAN [towards middle ground] CHINA

The architecture of this project consists of two elements which help conceal a third:

the first, a Chinese language school, on Pincio Hill; 
the second, an underground Vatican archive, in Pincio Hill;
and the third, the concealed element, and paramount of all:
a tacit Chinese seminary hidden in Pincio Hill.

This tacit Chinese seminary-cum-language school is pr
oposed within the context of existing difficulties between the Roman Catholic Church and the Chinese government, manifesting itself in a Vatican-comissioned, seminary for Chinese students hidden within Pincio Hill.

Given that many of the pivotal moments in the Bible take place on hills, it seems appropriate to locate the project on and in a hill. Pincio Hill overlooks Piaz
za del Popolo. With this piazza being of notable significance for pilgrims, it is there, on and in Pincio Hill that the “vatican archive [tacit chinese seminary] language school” project is to be located.

It is in the interests of the Catholic Church to maintain secrecy o
f a soon-to-be Chinese seminary in Rome. This is achieved by setting up a Chinese language school, in a prominent location - Pincio Hill - connected to the seminary. Many Chinese people seen in the area will not arouse suspicion if it is known that there is a Chinese language school nearby. With the underground seminary [secretly] connected to the school, this allows seminarians to exit the seminary through the school.

With six years of seminarians and staff occupying space in the hill, the idea is that they circulate the seminary independently, and have living accommodation specific to each year that is private within the year. However, they also collectively share space, for example, the dining room, library, chapel, etc. This is achieved by creating a labyrinth underground that enables the built form to have an element of mystery and suspense for the users. Seminarians inhabit a “new” area within the seminary in every year of study until they reach ordination.

The rite of Ordination is held during Mass. This threshold is particularly important for the candidate, during which there is a period where candidates prostrate themselves on the floor for about fifteen minutes. Below, I depict the idea of the underground cavernous chapel designed in such a way so that this special moment coincides with the sun basking a beam of light from above.

By Yan

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