Leggo My Eggo

Architect Andrew MacNair sends a giant egg to Korea

(Courtesy Andrew MacNair)

The Egg Chapel is located on the side of a small mountain outside of Seoul up the Han River in the W-Zone Park—a “people’s health, love and happiness park”—built and run by the Hi family under the direction of Pastor Song. The chapel was commissioned to be one of the world’s smallest churches—an ecumenical pilgrimage destination to hold small prayer and song services, baptisms, weddings, and musical performances—inside the chapel as well as outside on the front porch.

Photo of an egg-shaped building and a person sanding its sides

(Courtesy Andrew MacNair)

It was made with Jaesung Jung, Lawrence Marek, and Johanna Post. We built it in Bristol, Rhode Island, with old-school, wood, ocean yacht builders Dan Shay and William Harmon in a series of twelve long curvilinear, vertical shells like small Biblical boats. The shells where shipped from Bristol to Seoul via boat through the Panama Canal and were trucked up to the mountain where we erected it together in one month with four carpenters working by hand with no lifts nor cranes—a 10 meter (32 foot) wooden egg standing straight and tall. The egg is topped off with a wooden dome connecting all hulls into one.

It contains a front door facing west and one oval oculus window up high facing east. There are two long, thin windows left and right—a vertical one faces south, a horizontal one faces north. When a person goes into the compressed space of the chapel, first one looks up high to the oculus, bending the neck. Then, entering the 14-foot circular floor, the body brings together the two thin windows so that the horizontal window light comes together with the vertical window light, completing a metaphysical cross of energy and light: the human body connects post and arm of the Christian cross.

Photo of an egg-shaped room with an oculus and wood siding

(Courtesy Andrew MacNair)

This first Egg Chapel is part of an ongoing life-work, a Merzbau called “Egg City.” This includes work into an alternative “Not Not Architecture.” The Egg Chapel stands as one example. Simply put, the building is made of just two lines: one circle-line in plan, one vertical egg-line in elevation. We did not design it. It is a generic found object made and given to and for us all.

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