For the project NEW CHAPEL FOR THE CAMPO CLARO PARISH "OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE" a series of buildings are disposed to integrate gently with the surrounding environment and the community in which it performs. The building array consists of 4 buildings that house the largest percentage of the program: the Temple, the Parish Center, a Side Chapel and the Priest’s House. Other spaces act as articulators of the aforementioned buildings: The entrance plaza with the belfry, the Threshold access with the steps, the atrium, the courtyards and the Columbarium. To achieve functional efficiency, part of the program is located in an underground level, accommodating spaces such as storage rooms, covered parking, maintenance storages and services. Other spaces are partially buried, as the library, the priest’s office, etc. The logic of the buildings location aims to leave public activities in the closest areas to the main access, while semi-public and private activities will be in the inner parts of the terrain in order to have greater control and obtaining different shades of introspection for those who transit the complex in pilgrimage. The pursued aesthetics and the whole array of buildings is one where the quality of the sensitive experience shall prevail. Therefore, nature is incorporated introducing courtyards between each building and light through skylights and the facade perforated metal sheets. All these elements interact with the senses, enriching the users experience. The buildings pursue a very simple constructive logic; pure volumes are seeking to be bridges between light and nature.
During the preliminary stages in the draft development, capturing the spirit of the virgin for whom the temple is dedicated. Therefore, the Guadalupe Virgin image was carefully examined. The first thing that jumps out is its simplicity; unlike other virgins, the absence of luxury can be observed: no crown, scepter or throne. The ornaments only manifests in the details of the dress and the halo glow around her. On the other hand, history also emphasizes humility: his emissary was not a bishop or member of the nobility, but an Indian during the colonial era; the vehicle for her appearance was not a golden frame, canvas or fine, but the ' cloak ' of Juan Diego: a simple garment typical of the indigenous working class.
The sum of all these factors indicates that "La Virgen Morena" is an icon of the helpless and the poor, and therefore, her temple should reflect this. Like her, the beauty of the sanctuary must lie in its purity, cleanliness and simplicity; neither in extravagance nor ornament, the scale should not be monumental and imposing, but human and warm.
Considering this, the first traces of the design were drawn looking for a total integration with the context. But due to the terrain’s natural slope, how to demarcate the entrance to the whole complex became a concern when the terrain descends drastically on the main access opposite direction. The first element is an “architectural bridge” that links the entrance to the other elements of the spatial composition. A covered set of steps melting with a huge ramp was the suitable solution, and a frame coated with perforated metal sheets to determine the access. This element constitutes the complex’s door,
Due to its size, it also serves as a covered grandstand, leading onto a large square or the church’s Atrium, easily housing a multiple kinds of events. These element’s configuration was considered in order to expand the spaces of the Church, in which during special dates can accommodate large numbers of people. It is also meant that they generate useful spaces for adjacent facilities: the grandstand and the stage can easily become the community amphitheater.
The temple is placed at the end of the Atrium. It is a pure concrete volume surrounded by perforated metal sheets in the perimeter of the ground floor. At first glance, the volume appears to be a simple rectangular prism, however, conceptually, it is a succession of smaller volumes, interleaved, leaving empty spaces that act as courtyards articulating with the temple and other areas such as administration and education. The side chapel becomes a small pilgrimage honoring “Our Lady of Guadalupe”. Multiple openings are located at the left side of the church, permitting a dialogue between the inside and the outside. The perforations of the metal sheets are an abstraction of the Virgin’s robe floral pattern. Similarly, the perforated pattern of the ceiling meets the arrangement of the stars on the Holy Shroud. Both strategies respond to the concept of integrating the common imaging of the Virgin on building elements, not only by the symbolism of these sacred signs drawn on surfaces by light, but also, they follow the desire to make light take a leading role in the perception of space, giving it a dynamic dimension.
RELATIONSHIP WITH URBAN CONTEXT
Within the sector, a deficit of public spaces for community gathering was found. The design reacts to this condition looking to house and provide an alternative to the absent public spaces. The idea was to provide spaces that could be used both by the parish members as well as the community. The most open spaces inside the proposal possess the ability to mutate according to future activities and to display a functional permeability to future programs.
PROJECT BY: TALLER DE ARQUITECTURA SINGULAR
ARCHITECTS IN CHARGE: Piergianna Mazzocca and Teresa Tognetti
TEAM: Betsabé Zambrano and Gloria Rivera
RENDERS: Guillermo Bruzual