Saint-Loup Chapel


The chapel of St.-Loup in Pompaples (Switzerland) was the first-full scale construction with a design based on the methods for generating architectural forms developed at the laboratory for timber construction IBOIS.

The Diaconesses of St.-Loup needed a temporary structure for their community’s religious activities during an extensive renovation of their motherhouse, and a folded plate structure built in cross laminated timber panels provided an ideal solution. The form generation tool allowed integrating structural as well as production design right from the beginning into the planning process. Therefore the entire project took less than 6 months from start to finish and the chapel was built in less than two months.

The project wants to capture the form of a basilica with one rounded nave. In the chapel, two symmetrical, slightly bent zigzag lines define a corrugated form in plan. The cross section profile is a simple trapezoid. Due to the curve form of the basic corrugation in plan the roof is compressed and rises up to a tip that recalls a little belfry. 

The result is a transition from a horizontal to a vertical space, marked by the rhythm of the folds. The chapel’s huge wooden panels, joined by folded metal plates screwed to the timber panels, enable the structure to stay upright without a traditional linear framework.
Transparent plastic panels in the gable side facades, covered with fabric, allow natural light to enter the chapel and their framework remembers stained glass.

This chapel was supported by the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and published a lot all around the world since its building.


Origami – geometry of folded plate structures

P. J. S. Cruz; H. U. Buri; Y. Weinand 

2010. ICSA2010 1st International Conference on Structures & Architecture, Guimaraes, Portugal, July 21-23, 2010.


Press review:
Tribune de Genève – La Chapelle “origami” de Saint-Loup passionne les architectes
Le Temps – La belle jupe plissée de Saint-Loup


Location: Pompaples, Switzerland
Client: Communauté des Diaconesses de Saint Loup
Danilo Mondada
Shel – Architecture, Engineering and Production Design
Timber Engineering: Bureau d’Etudes Weinand (Liège, Belgium)
Technology Transfer: IBOIS EPFL, Prof. Yves Weinand, Dr Hani Buri
Date: April-June 2008 (2 months)