Thursday, 25 November 2010

Great Buildings 5 - The Italian Chapel

For this entry in my Great Buildings series, I stay with religious buildings and return to Orkney in order to feature the Italian Chapel at Lambholm:

The church was actually built for and by Italian prisoners of war who had been transported to Orkney from North Africa during World War II. While there, they constructed the Churchill Barrier - a series of causeways linking the Orkney mainland to South Ronaldsay. As well as proving to be a long lasting infrastructure link, these causeways closed potential routes for German U-boats seeking to enter Scapa Flow from the East.

Lambholm is indicated by the arrow and Scapa Flow is the expanse of water in the centre of the map:

The church was built from the materials available, with the facade made of concrete but decorated to make it look tradition... the rest of the building, however, is constructed from 2 Nissen huts:

Internally, the building is decorated with plasterboard painted with beautiful frescoes. The alter area is separated from the rest of the church by beautiful wrought ironwork.

If you've never been to Orkney, you should go... and if you have been, you should go back!



Alan said...

My three favourite buildings (of those I have visited) are the Taj Mahal in Agra, the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona and the Italian Chapel in Orkney. And in many ways, the Italian Chapel was the most impressive. Certainly the most surprising.

oneexwidow said...

It is amazing for the scale of it's ambition given the circumstances of its building and the materials available.

Barcelona is high on my list of destinations - would love to see the Cathedral myself.