The Chapel of the Mines is located in a working class neighbourhood in West Jordan, a suburb of Salt Lake City, Utah. Used for daily worship, the chapel forms part of a new campus for the Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Church.
The church is near the Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, a primary employer in the area and one of the world's largest open pit mines. The campus replaces a modest church dating to the 1960s.
"Named for the patron saint of labourers, this parish church has a rich history and cultural lineage rooted in the practises of construction trades and craftspeople," said local studio Sparano + Mooney Architecture in a project description.
"Drawing from this lineage, a palette of materials was selected to express the transformation of the raw material by the worker, revealing the craft and method of construction."
Encompassing 470 square feet (44 square metres), the chapel is positioned along a curved plaza lined with concrete benches. The small building has a sculptural form, with the rear portion stretching toward the sky.
Facades are wrapped in custom, flat-lock copper panels that were supplied by a local fabricator. A wooden door set within a concrete box leads into the prayer space.
For the interior walls and ceiling, the team used vertical-grain, Douglas fir boards, which are elegantly stitched together using tongue-and-groove joints. The continuous wooden surface gives the room a warm yet streamlined appearance.
Running through the centre of the space is a polished concrete pathway flanked by wooden pews. The path arrives at a simple altar made of bent steel plates and grey and white marble. Hanging above are a crucifix and a trio of globe-shaped, glass pendants by Bocci.
The chapel's primary light source is a large, rectangular skylight above the altar, which not only brings in daylight but also directs the eye upward.
"Because of its small size, a specific design interest for the chapel was the desire to create a singular, upward focus evocative of spirituality," the team said.
Other recent churches in the US include a white chapel in Texas by Studio 512, which rises to a sharp point, and a California chapel by Mark Cavagnero that features concrete walls and an abstracted steeple.
Photography is by Jeremy Bittermann.