architecture : urban : visual culture

Saint Imre Memorial Chapel

The chapel is built on the verge of the cemetery of Hegyközszentimre (Sântimreu) village in a very scenic situation. This is the spot where prince Imre (Emery) the only son of István (Stephen) the first king of the Hungarians was killed in a hunting accident. Not so many years after his canonization a monastery was built here, on the hilltop overlooking the Berettyó river. 


There are no remains of this abbey to be seen nowadays but carved stones are often turning up at ploughing. We choose the place of the memorial chapel not very far from the spot of the death of the prince and not far from the supposed perimeter walls of the monastery. At the same time we wanted the chapel to be seen from a long distance, so becoming not only the symbol of the village but also a landmark for the whole area.

The building fulfills three functions at the same time. First of all it commemorates the prince Szent Imre (Saint Emery) and also all the saints coming from the House of Árpád - the first royal family of the Hungarians.
In the second place it will serve as a funerary chapel according to the rules of the European Union.

Saint Imre Memorial Chapel, Hegyközszentimre, Wagner Péter DLA, 2018.


At least the tower acts as a gazebo from where the Berettyó-valley and also the distant environs could be observed.

The ensemble - according to it’s function - consists of three parts:
The chapel which is funerary and memorial space at the same time, the look-out tower which holds also the bell and finally the peristyle which joins them and serves for the outdoor funeral services.

Saint Imre Memorial Chapel, Hegyközszentimre, Wagner Péter DLA, 2018.


The building fulfills it’s triple function as follows:
The main axis of the circle shaped memorial chapel covered with hemispherical dome is determined by a rectilinear line which connects the cemetery and the direction of the main panoramic view and is perpendicular to the edge of the plateau.

On one end of this axis is the entrance on the other a great window, opening to the valley. Behind this window stands a great cross integrated into the outside collonade as his background . 

The ecumenical services are attended by simple liturgical furniture. Outside of the wooden bench cercling the walls there will be no seats in the chapel. The main light comes trough the row of the slightly coloured glass of the windows under the dome. The simple catafalk and the accessories of it can be placed in the middle of the chapel. The same are serving the outdoor funeral ceremonies held in the glass covered foreground of the
chapel. The dead bodies can be stored in a chilled chamber on the ground floor of the tower. The panoramic terrace of the tower is to be approached by a circular stair. The bell hangs over the terrace.

Saint Imre Memorial Chapel, Hegyközszentimre, Wagner Péter DLA, 2018.


The forming of the masses and that of the relations between them recalls the simple, severe, robust but well-propotioned architectural solutions of the early - universal - period of the christianity. At the same time I found very important to intellectually join to the so called “Roman School” an important stream of the Hungarian architecture between the two World Wars to support hereby the bridge between past and present, universal and national with more pillars.

The design of the plan is defined by a net of squares and the circles inside of it, the volumes are determined by solids - prisms, cylinders, and hemispheres derived from the two-dimensional figures of the plan based also on quadratic construction.

Saint Imre Memorial Chapel, Hegyközszentimre, Wagner Péter DLA, 2018.


In point of the materials used I also aspired to be laconic. Outside the dominancy of the concrete, the irregular stone masonry and the green patina of the plating of the roofs is completed by transparent and translucent nonfigurative patterned glazing, dark gray metallic window and door frames and the slabs made from translucent glass blocks. The interior is white painted, excluding the dome; the only decor is the the Saint Imre window which recalls the memory of the Árpádian saints – István, Imre and László – playing definitive role in the history of the region.


Wagner Péter DLA


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