352 / Camille Vigil and Giovanni Casalini: Rwanda Chapel

Camille Vigil from USA/Texas and Giovanni Casalini from Italy/Grosseto; "Camille: “I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and I came to Austin to attend the University of Texas at Austin. Growing up, I played piano and eventually went to a performing arts high school in Dallas, Texas to learn even more about the craft of music. Always interested in artistic means, my interest in architecture began even before high school. I feel that having such a huge background in music helped me shift seamlessly into architecture. For the past 7 months, I have been interning in Seattle, Washington, USA at a firm called Olson Kundig, which has become renown for a sensitive and tactile approach to architecture. While here, I became friends with a fellow intern who was from Italy, and who soon became my partner for this project. We submitted this project for Young Architects Competition's Rwanda Chapel Competition, and were awarded the ranking of Finalists by a jury comprised of Eduardo Souto de Moura, Tatiana Bilbao, Peter Eisenman, Sean Godsell, Jean Paul Uzabakiriho, Simon Frommenwiler, Sol Madridejos, Walter Mariotti, and Andrew Boeri. Now I am back at the University of Texas at Austin to complete my 5th and final year of my undergraduate Bachelor of Architecture degree.”


University: Camille Vigil attends the University of Texas at Austin and Giovanni Casalini attended the Politecnico di Milano, in Milan, Italy

Instagram Username: @camillevigil


Name of Project: Rwanda Chapel

Project Description: Our project was a submission for the international competition by Young Architects Competition called Rwanda Chapel. Our project was awarded the ranking of Finalist as judged by the jury, comprised of Eduardo Souto de Moura, Tatiana Bilbao, Peter Eisenman, Sean Godsell, Jean Paul Uzabakiriho, Simon Frommenwiler, Sol Madridejos, Walter Mariotti, and Andrew Boeri. Located upon the slope of the site extents, the intervention uses the site area’s bounding edge as a base from which to wrap a path traversing the site in order to activate it in its entirety, establishing it as a holy ground.

Having three perceived corners, this intervention occupies one, with slated future development at another, and potential for further development at the third. The church intervention thickens from this path to protrude slightly from the hill as a substantial mass and is sited as an object that evokes permanence; a place of refuge and peace for the community. The intervention itself is sensitive in form to reference typical Catholic church typologies and historical context, as well as regional culture and building materials with rammed earth. Arches reference historic cloisters to form the plaza surrounding the church, and the church itself takes on a form that is archetypal of religious architecture, while being embedded into to a modern intervention.

The thickened wall surrounding the church hosts niches that ornament the perimeter of the plaza, providing instances of potential pause and prayer. This plaza offers flexibility in expansion of congregation, with a recessed entry that can serve as an exterior altar. Universality of the Church establishes a logic that follows a typology that is everlasting in figurative intention, holding true to core values of Catholic architecture.