Church of St. Wenceslas, Sazovice, CZ

Function: Sacred
Country: Czech Republic
Category: Sustainable Communities
Firm: Atelier Štěpán s.r.o.
Architects: Marek Jan Štěpán (author), František Brychta, Jan Vodička, Vanda Štěpánová, Jan Martínek, Tomáš Jurák, Hana Myšková (collaboration), Vladimír Kokolia (Figural drawings)
Completion of design: 2015
Year completed: 2017
It was the initiative of the inhabitants of this village (of 700 people) who established an association for building a new church. Štěpán has been the architect of several sacral works (among others in Ostrava and Brno), using very often a rounded floor plan. Also, this Catholic church has a circular plan referring to early medieval rotundas from St. Wenceslas times. However, the overall impression has been dematerialized, above all by the light entering through slots between outwardly and inwardly bent walls that resemble a folded paper. The structure is partly made of reinforced concrete, partly brickwork; the inner walls are mostly plastered, the ceiling has been made of wooden lattices. Both exterior and interior are bright with very inconspicuous decoration. The figurative drawings in the interior were created by Vladimír Kokolia. A quiet and contemplative atmosphere prevails. From the time the first idea arose, the community had to wait 80 years to get their own church. This was the reason for the help and support of many people for its current construction.
Project Description

The Church of St. Wenceslas in Sazovice is a modern rotunda and contemporary architecture built on conservative principles, as the spiritual and geometric expression of the village's center. Its position in the intersections of the main directions makes you feel it is a sacred place that brings great importance to this place for the following generations. The search for the right form of the church started with a simple cylinder, a perfect volume for this place. The circle has always been understood as a divine symbol, in contrast to the secular rectangle. The architect’s aim was to dematerialize the building. When you observe the volume, you feel the lightness created by the design principle of tapering the walls into tiny lines. It is like cutting a paper cylinder and exploring its possibilities. The windows were created by pushing and pulling the cuts and letting the light glide softly on the walls. The windows are embedded in the wall cuts and illuminate the presbytery with bronze shell of altar, a simple organic shape with a perfect surface symbolizing the touch of God. Light becomes a factor that creates a non-existing interface between what is verifiable by the senses, and what is beyond material world. It evokes a safe shelter and when you raise your eyes you see the main skylight transforming its shape from a triangle to a circle, i.e. the God's eye. The interior is poetically minimalist with modest decoration as we tend to search for a quiet place of meditation and realizing our own inner being, overwhelmed with information nowadays. The architect believes there is something or Somebody better behind the material world. In Sazovice he tried to find this somebody through the volume and defined space. The church should influence people’s mind, whether they understand it consciously or subconsciously. This is the reflection of something divine in the volume, in the defined space and something what is behind the walls. The church invites us inside and provides a sense of quietness and peace. You can experience being alone with God if you want.