The Vatican is planting 10 chapels in the woods of one of Venice's lagoon islands for its first-ever contribution to the Venice Architecture Biennale.

Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican's culture minister, unveiled plans for "Vatican Chapels" on Tuesday, saying the project was inspired by the "Woodland Chapel" in Stockholm by Swedish architect Gunnar Asplund.

Ravasi has frequently condemned modern churches as ugly and inhospitable to prayer. He said he hoped "Vatican Chapels" would help re-establish a dialogue between the sacred and architecture, which over centuries created majestic churches and cathedrals around the globe.

The Vatican, which spent 400,000 euros for the project, solicited designs from 10 architects — only two of them women — as well as contributions from construction firms. The Biennale runs May 26-Nov. 25.