The Oratory at Broadbank was probably the simplest problem that, in one sense, we've had to address and yet it was the most complicated. The brief was absolutely minimal. It was a room for sisters to say mass in - it is located in a nursing home - and for visitors to the nursing home to have some kind of spiritual retreat. So it had to be non-denominational but a room apart. The first slide is an illustration of the room as a diagram and it's juxtaposed with Bramante's Tempietto, and there were a couple of reasons for that. It is approximately the same size as the inner space of Bramante's building. So it's quite tiny, about a 4m diameter cylinder. And the second was really to sort of suggest the ancestry for the form. It's located within the existing nursing home at the junction between a '50s building and a '60s building. It allowed us to get light in on all sides to it. We chose the form, which is a circle, in that it is unlike any other space in the nursing home and that it read both as a figural space and as a figural object caught at this hinge between the two buildings. It's made of white glass. It's luminous and there's only one window which is axial on the entry, which looks out at the Lake District landscape at a series of five beech trees and the notion within it was that nothing in the building could be identifiably similar to any other element in the rest of the building.
The second slide is as you approach and look through the portal which is very low, it's only 1.9 m high, which means that you have to dip or bow slightly as you enter the room; and you're looking towards the window with the shutters in a closed position.
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