Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago · 3 min. reading time · +100 ·

Claire L blog
Beautiful Buildings Around The World Part 2 - Bosjes Chapel

Beautiful Buildings Around The World Part 2 - Bosjes Chapel


The Bosjes Chapel is set within a vineyard and pomegranate orchard.  It is at the foot of the Waaihoek Mountain, in the  Breede Valley,  Western Cape, South Africa and was designed by South African born Coetzee Steyn of Steyn Studio.

The 6 metre high (19.68ft) Chapel has a sculptural, undulating roof that  mirrors the outlines of the mountain ranges nearby and also references the distinctive Cape Dutch Architecture. It is surrounded by a reflective pool that emphasizes the floating nature of the chapel and gives an impression of weightlessness. 

 (Image above by Adam Letch).

(Image by Claire J Roux)

(Image by Adam Letch)

The roof canopy has been made out of a thin concrete shell, and the roof supports itself as it meets the ground.  It was designed without a central spire, but where each wave of the building rises to a peak large expanses of glass feature a centrally placed symbolic crosses. 

(Image by Adam Letch)

Coetzee Steyn also took inspiration from Psalm 36:7 which says "How priceless is your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of your wings" - the wing like shapes of the roof also echo birds in flight.


                        (Image by Adam Letch)

The glazed walls frame the mountains, vineyard and orchards.  Inside a simple, rectangular open plan building there is highly polished terazzo floor that reflect the light.  The undulating white ceiling reflects dancing shadows throughout the day.


The services and columns are hidden within the structure.  To allow for thermal movement the roof and the floor are separated by a service channel at the perimeter where the glass meets the floor.  Rainwater is discharged from the centre of the roof by a submersible pump with a sump through a pipe cast into the concrete - the outlet is hidden beneath the lowest part of the roof where it meets the reflection pool.

The Parabolic shape of the building was extremely complicated to make, all the formwork was purpose made - a series of prefabricated trusses with a bent plywood skin were designed., it took almost 5 months to make the formwork on site! 

                                             Photograph courtesy of PERI

The shell consists of  74 cubic metres of concrete and 8175 kg of high tensile steel reinforcement.  Four hidden concrete buttresses with a vertical load of almost 50 tonnes support the roof. 

Photograph courtesy of PERI

and as site foreman  John Hartnick said :

PERI was the only formwork supplier that was man-enough to price this project. From the designing, 3-D formwork modeling, site support, technical know-how and overall service was excellent.

                                                  Photograph courtesy of PERI
Bosjes Chapel has certainly joined my bucket list of buildings to visit - at least it's here in SA and not in a far-flung country!

                      Photograph by Sam Linsell - Drizzle & Drip Blog - see credit below.

Call Claire +27 82 399 0180 / +27 66 232 3676 (Whatsapp) 


I love Architecture. I think it's vital to talk about all aspects of Architecture - whether it be planning, construction, design or green building. I have written 3 E-Books & over 110 articles. Please feel free to let me know if you have any queries regarding architecture, planning & construction & I will assist you.

I am originally from the UK and moved to South Africa in 1999.  I started Blue Designs in 2004 after working as a driver for Avalon Construction on a luxury home in the Featherbrook Estate.  In my spare time I am an artist and writer (The Naked Architect).

Other Articles I have written include :-

Building Green?  Here are some tips.

Common Mistakes People make when Designing a House

The Advantages of Sustainable Building

Considering Buying or Renovating a Heritage Home?  Pros and Cons

Renovation vs New Construction - which is Greener and Better for the Environment?

Bizarre Buildings Part Two - Space Age Fantasy

Weird and Wonderful Buildings Part Three - Three Buildings that make Music

Please follow me on :- /

#Architecture  #Architect  #Clairecardwell  #Clairelcardwell  #Bluedesigns  #Bluedesignsarchitecturaldesigners  #Architecturaldesigner  #Design #Bosjeschapel

#Southafrica #Breederivervalley #Westerncape #Capetown

Credits -

Design architect
Steyn Studio
Project architect        
TV3 Architects
Structural engineer Henry Fagan & Partners
Services engineer
Solution Station
Longworth & Faul

Curtain wall design
Integrate Structural & Civil Engineering, Steyn Studio

Formwork -PERI

PG Smartglass Solar E
Shotcrete finish
Sika Monotop 620
Plascon Nuroof White

Sources :-


Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #15

Thank you @Jonathan Clogg & @Jack Son for stopping by - Bosjes Chapel - I don't think mere words convey the beauty of this building...

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #14

Thanks for the share Ken Boddie!

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #13

I thought so too - a truly captivating building.

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #12

Preston \ud83d\udc1d Vander Ven - I agree, it's raining here in Joburg, after weeks of hot african sun, it's very welcome. I love watching rain dance on water.

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #11

I agree Chris \ud83d\udc1d Guest - what I love about the Bosjes Chapel and the Sydney Opera House is that the more you look at it, the more you like it. A true classic in every sense of the word.

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #10

That's what I thought too Franci\ud83d\udc1dEugenia Hoffman, beBee Brand Ambassador !

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #9

Jerry Fletcher - it was one heck of a building to create and build - it's great that the client's had the faith (and the budget) to see it through.

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #8

Thanks !

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #7

I thought so too !

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #6

Ken Boddie - perhaps he calmed his nerves with a restorative wee dram at the end of each working day. I can't get over the fact that it took the contractor 5 months to build a 1:2 scale model of the building to see how it worked!

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #5

It is a stunning building - I saw an article in a magazine about it a while back and thought I would find out more.

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #4

I do love a good curve Pascal Derrien!

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #3

I thought you'd like it Lada \ud83c\udfe1 Prkic - I am re-reading your article !

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #2

Thanks for stopping by Praveen Raj Gullepalli it is an amazing building - it took months and a lot of skill to build it and it's great to see an Architect's dreams become a reality.

Claire L Cardwell

4 years ago #1

Ken Boddie - Here's a Parabolic Building for you!

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