Caplutta Sogn Benedetg
Sumvitg
Graubünden
Switzerland

Peter Zumthor and Annalisa Zumthor-Cuorad 1985-1988

A cylinder that turns into an oval and then into a keel: the geometry of this church, however definite, is also dynamic and elusive to the eye, all this exacerbated by the implantation of the building on a steep slope.

The form keeps on rebelling against any final definition as the appendage of the entrance is added seamlessly to the main body of the building, adding concavity to the convexity of the overall form.

 


Stepping inside the issue of form becomes clear, even if most of us will remain unaware that we are standing inside a 

'lemniscate, an algebraic curve to the fourth power forming the figure of an '8', which proportionally shortened also determines the sections'

(Mercedes Daguerre. Birkhäuser Architectural Guide Switzerland – 20th century)

You feel the reassurance of being in a church, the axiality of the plan, the enclosing curve behind the altar, the height of the space enhanced by the series of pillars and the light coming from above, penetrating through a continuous band of windows that separate the ceiling from the wall, isolating it and revealing the geometry and the focal point of the space which is drawn by the beams that support the roof. 

 


The care for the quality of detailing is sustained even in those places where the eye is not supposed to observe (during your visit take a look behind the concrete stairs of the entrance). The sensuality extracted from the materials is a matter for many more lines, so as Zumthor has repeatedly stated we shouldn't talk more about the building, the building is there, standing... go and experience it yourself.

Ludwig Abache 2001


How to visit

By public transport: From the city of Chur, take the train Rhätische Bahn to Disentis/Mustér. Stop at Sumvitg-Cumpadials. Follow the hiking signs from the station to the town of Sumvitg, from there you can either walk to San Benedetg by the paved road or hike through the trails in the forest. The hiking path takes you there faster but you must be in a good physical condition because the hill is very steep and the path demanding. The paved road is much longer but a softer slope.

By car: From Chur follow the direction of Disentis until you reach Sumvitg. Take a right upward turn to S. Benedetg at the back of the village.

The church is continually open for visitors.

For rail timetable information see Swiss Rail at www.sbb.ch and Rhätisches Bahn at www.rhb.ch.

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