Land and Sea
古代中国的地理和政治均以大陆为中心，历史上沿海地带均属边缘 地带。边缘地带由于与政权的远离而产生了较为放松的多元民间文化，加上水陆相交的地理环境带来了更多的自我和民间意识。及至近代，随着世界海洋文明的扩展，大陆的沿海地带逐渐成为古代中国与外来文化的接触 带，进一步丰富的近代沿海聚落的物态与非物态文化生态。
Ancient China was geographically and politically centered on the mainland, the coastal areas were historically marginalized. These coastal areas, being far from the regime, gave rise to a more relaxed and diverse vernacular, and the geographical environment where land and water intersected brought about a greater sense of spontaneous and local senses. As time passes, with the expansion of world’s maritime civilization, the coastal zone gradually became the points of communication between China and foreign cultures, further enriching the physical and non-physical cultural ecology of modern coastal settlements.
▼建筑外观，external view of the project ©吴嗣铭
Shanwei, where the project is located, was originally part of the central coastal location of the Haifeng (海丰) region, occupies more than 10% of the province’s coastline length and a sea area three times the land area. The local vernacular is mainly Fulao, a branch of the Minnan. Traces of tribal settlements of fisherman are found as early as the Neolithic era. The unique climate and geographical location have created a serene humanistic atmosphere and a natural scenery of mountains and seas
▼远景，矗立在海滩上，distanced view of the chapel standing on the beach ©吴嗣铭
Cities and Towns
Historically and naturally, the costal zones of the mainland have frostered fishing communities and commercial settlements feeding off the vast South China Sea. The fishermen spent majorities of time on the offshore areas, living on a self-subsistence fishing economy which developed into distinctive coastal fishing villages. Which later grew into larger fishing town in modern times, and gradually developed into large-scale trading cities. These settlements were connected by primary roads to form a series of coastal village systems, together hills along the coastal edge formed a unique cultural and geographical network, built an organic agricultural and commercial system along the southeast coast of Guangdong.
▼鸟瞰，大海与礼拜堂，aerial view of the chapel and the sea ©源计划建筑师事务所
Driven by the new round of infrastructure construction, the capital spillover from the central cities flowed to these fishing towns in search of tourism opportunities and landscape resources, and the construction of new cities began in these long-neglected areas in the middle of the expanding cities and the fishing villages. The construction introduced a new townscape typology to the local natural and humanistic landscape, brought in a heterogeneous variant of the pre-existing high-density city, which quickly occupied the gap of in between, triggering a new urbanization process driven by real estate production along the coastline.
▼大海、礼拜堂和城市，the sea, the chapel and the city ©吴嗣铭
Sea and Statue
As we proceed toward the west. along the beach, around the hills, we arrived at the town of Magong, one of the old-time fishing towns and still earning its living as of present. The town greeted our visitors with bustling market and lines of fishing boats on the shore. Most of the residents have built their own multi-story bungalows following their property grids, yet the village has already showed the tendency of urbanization instigated by the seafood trade and newly developed tourist industry.
▼礼拜堂与周边环境，the chapel and its surrounding environment ©源计划建筑师事务所
The fishermen have been living and working on the cusp of the land and the sea for generations, sailing out for extended periods of time during fishing season. Facing the vast nature, human seems rather microscopic and fragile; and the fishermen drifting on the sea yearn for some kind of psychological and emotional connection to home and land, as well as a connection with the mother nature. The Matsu culture is thus fostered and emerged along the southeast coast of China and later spread to Southeast Asia and the rest of the world.
▼从礼拜堂望向大海，view to the sea from the chapel ©吴嗣铭
▼教堂入口前的水面的步道，water surface and path in front of the entrance ©吴嗣铭
At the center of Magong town is the Cultural Plaza, with a classic style chapel serves as the center for ceremonial worships and celebrations, functioning as the western basilica. Behind the chapel locates the rear courtyard, with a colossal statue of Matsu erected on the platform above, facing the South China Sea – Fishermen sailing several nautical miles away are still able to view her elegant silhouette erected above the horizontally sprawled townscape and waterscape.
▼仿古式的礼堂，a classic style chapel ©吴嗣铭
▼礼堂连接沙滩和城镇，chapel combining the beach with the town ©吴嗣铭
The Statue and the Sea
After tracing the history and speculating the town, we went back to the Jinting bay – before us are the disorienting high-rise clusters and the beach scattered with tourists – for them the present of the sea is obviously a different scenery and source of imagination. We tried to examine and create this new “image of the sea” with a parallel perspective of history as we receive the commission to design a place of ceremonial worship, emphasizing and terminating the central axis of this emerging city facing the sea,
▼分解轴测图，exploded axonometric ©源计划建筑师事务所
▼空间分析，space analysis ©源计划建筑师事务所
▼尽端的直立高窗，upright window at the end of the building ©源计划建筑师事务所
The city-side facade of the chapel contains a horizontal space with a height to width ratio of nearly 1:10, inside are abstract forms of a traditional screen, courtyard and hall, spreaded horizontally against the central axis of the new city, allowing people in the middle of urban jungle a place of spiritual repository. The 36-meter-long shaded walkway at the edge of the shallow pool presented a perfect frame and stage for the scenery. The sea-side facade is dramatically compressed and stretched into a beacon on the edge of the ocean. This façade is covered by a transparent upright window with a height to width ratio of nearly 5:1 – a solitude facing the boundless ocean. The emerging sky and sea are the end of the ceremonial progression, as well as the beginning of departure for wild imagination for nature.
▼朝向大海的巨大玻璃窗，large glass window facing the sea ©吴嗣铭
▼沙滩上的游人与礼堂，the chapel and the visitors on the beach ©吴嗣铭
▼礼堂与沙滩细部，closer view to the chapel and the beach ©吴嗣铭
▼通向礼堂内部的步道，path towards the interior of the chapel ©吴嗣铭
▼通透的厅堂空间，transparent hall ©吴嗣铭
▼厅堂内部，inside the hall ©吴嗣铭
Outside, this “Statue of the Sea” creates a new spiritual and figurative anchor for the rapid-emerging coastal city, to re-establish a connection between city and town, land and sea.
▼夜晚远眺礼堂，distanced view of the chapel in the night ©吴嗣铭
▼夜景，滨海城市的精神锚点，night view, a spiritual figure for the coastal city ©吴嗣铭
▼负一层平面图，B1 floor plan ©源计划建筑师事务所
▼首层平面图，first floor plan ©源计划建筑师事务所
▼屋顶平面图，roof plan ©源计划建筑师事务所
项目团队：黄城强 彭伟森 蔡信乾
Project Name: Jinting Bay Chapel
Project Location: Shanwei City, Guangdong Province, China
Gross Built Area: 384 m2
Period: 2018 -2020
Principal Architects: He Jianxiang & Jiang Ying
Project Team: Huang Chengqiang, Peng Weisen, Cai Xinqian
Structural Consultant: Lao Xiaojie, Sang Xiling
M.E. Consultant: Bun Cong M&E Design
Floodlight Consultant: BPI
Photographer: Wu Siming