” A client that visited our Estancia Chapel contacted us to design a private chapel on the plot of land they had recently bought on the backside of their weekend house in Cuernavaca, Mexico. They wanted an Ecumenical Chapel, a non-religious and universal space, to meditate. They liked our Estancia Chapel but wanted something more discreet, something that would be hidden from sight from their house.
Our Estancia Chapel is a wedding chapel conceived to celebrate life and our Sunset Chapel is a mausoleum in a garden of crypts conceived to mourn death. This third chapel meant for meditation represents the midpoint between these two opposites, life and death, so it is a balance point, an opportunity to journey into our deeper self. The chapel is buried underground and a spiraling ramp that surrounds it brings us inside. This ramp is flanked with a vegetated wall that functions as a vertical garden.
A water pond forms the rooftop of the chapel and at its center we find an oculus, a glass covered opening in the metallic plate, that lets sunlight filter through the water generating light and shadow patterns on the inside. The space is contained by a lattice wall formed by separated glass beams that lets the air flow through its inside. The oculus is also a visual connection with the outside vegetation and the sky, a constant reminder that we are part of a whole and connected with everything that surrounds us. In the center of the chapel we find a metallic fountain with a giant quartz on top that reflects the light coming through the oculus.
This private Ecumenical Chapel is our third religious commission. Located in the city of Cuernavaca in Mexico, it´s conceived for meditation and contemplation. It represents the mid point between our past two religious buildings. The first celebrated life, the second grieved death. This third chapel is the balance between those two opposites, the point of equilibrium. It is accessed by a spiral ramp that descends gently around the pond as it prepares you for meditation. It is a journey to your inner self. ”
Design: BNKR Arquitectura
Partner in Charge: Esteban Suarez
Design Team: Emelio Barjau, Jaime Sol, Jorge Alcantar, Christian Morales, Gloria Castillo, Montserrat Escobar, Marcell Ibarrola, Fernando Maya, Marco Mayote and Daniel Aguilar
Structure: Juan Felipe Heredia / DAE
MEP: Sylvia Roman / MmasXpresiones
Lighting: Ricardo Noriegga and Santiago Bautista / NorieggaIluminadores
Photography: Jaime Navarro
Status: Built 2013