Synthetic Syncretism - Inverted Chapel of Our Lady of Regla, Havana 2006
Synthetic Syncretism describes the artificial condensation and unification of different religions and cultures as well as spatial concepts and design techniques. The project’s narrative background is based upon the Cuban religion of Santeria - a mixture between Catholicism and the African Yoruba tribal beliefs. As a result of this unusual syncretism an altered kind of religion evolved, which hybridised Catholic Saints with folklore animals and the ‘Sakralraum’ with sacrifices.
The necropolis Christobal Colon, the main cemetery in Havana, does not provide enough burial space; hence the proposal for a processional route through the city for a ceremonial funeral in the sea. The ‘Chapel of Our Lady de Regla’ is proposed for this processional route, slotted inside an existing cross-shaped courtyard. It forms an ‘inverted’ chapel that, containing numerous Santerian relics and utensils, is an architectural highlight during the procession.
Tobias Klein is a German architect and educator. He studied architecture at the RWTH Aachen and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna under Prof. Wolf Prix before gaining his Diploma and Masters degree at the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL. His Diploma work was widely published and awarded numerous prizes, including a commendation at the RIBA Silver medals in 2007 and the Student award at the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Show in 2008. He is co-founder of Horhizon and currently a design tutor of the Masters course ADS1 at the Royal College of Art and a studio master at the Architectural Association in London.