Is it sacrilegious to describe a church as sexy? Surely, God would understand, since this gleaming, disorienting space looks more like a fashion showroom designed by Zaha Hadid than a place of devout worship. Odder still, it’s located not in cosmopolitan Tokyo or Paris but on a steel company’s industrial campus in Linz, Austria.
According to X Architekten, the project architects, the chapel sits on an island surrounded by major traffic arteries–a virtual no-man’s land “in need of a new strong character.” Instead of building a towering structure that would compete with Voestalpine‘s other company buildings, the firm decided to carve the church into a hillside, leaving the rooftop as a walkable bridge. Keeping the structure low to the ground also obviated the need to build an expensive foundation.
Inside, visitors are greeted by a dizzying array of faceted walls lined with white-spruce paneling and exposed light strips. Views of the green lawn through floor-to-ceiling windows contrast with the spare, brightly lit interior–which offers nary a dark, dusty pew for silent contemplation. And perhaps that’s the point: In this church, there’s no hiding from God.