Church of Saint-Jacques de la Lande

The Church of Saint-Jacques de la Lande could be considered a breakthrough of minimalism. At least in local terms.

It is the first church built in France’s Brittany region in the 21st Century, which makes it rather unique. The project was designed by the famous Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.

It is incredible not only because of its architectural form but also in the use of materials. The light and white concrete that were used in the design provide a unique ceremonial space that gently folds into the neighbourhood of the south of Rennes—connecting very well with the surrounding environment, which was Siza Vieira’s main concern when designing the project.

One of the hallmarks of the building is the circular shape on the second floor, which can hold up to 120 people—freeing up the first floor for social and administrative areas. The church is inserted as a free-standing volume that adapts to the existing plan and the dimensions of the nearby buildings and spaces, extant or planned, in particular, the size of the apartment block to the north.

I really adore the use of concrete here. It gives to the building a sense of strength and pureness. It represents the purpose of the space really well, which sets the scene for religion to connect with the person in the purest and most sensitive way. The lighting throughout the building brightens up the environment and the minimalist details add a subtle touch of feeling that architecture always needs.