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A simple, striking chapel rises on the moors of Austria

The chapel is among the simplest of structures—and often the most awe-inspiring. This one in Krumbach, Austria, is no exception. Set on a rolling moor, Kapelle Salgenreute was built to replace the old Lourdes Chapel, which was beyond repair.

Austrian firm Bernardo Bader Architekten took on the challenge of creating a new program that incorporated the spirit of the original structure as well as the traditions and history of the surrounding mountain forest region of Bergenzerwald.

The result is a seemingly straightforward, high-pitched, one-room space constructed from wood and stone. Set on a stone platform, the chapel is clad in wood shingles on all sides. The entrance is marked by a large, nearly full-wall recess and a metal door whose sheen complements the wood’s hue.

Inside, the entire nave—its walls, floors, and ceiling—is paneled in wood, with the minimalist pews crafted from the same material. Straight ahead is the trapezoidal apse, which is clad entirely in white and features a narrow window framing the lush landscape, drawing anyone who enters toward the light.

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