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La Estancia Chapel

contributed by 323 World Architecture Festival , 21 October 2009

 

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Description La Estancia Chapel:

The chapel was designed for a beautiful Mexican colonial garden that caters to weddings. It is located in the town of Cuernavaca, a one hour drive south of Mexico City. Since it lacked a chapel, previous weddings all took place under a light canvas canopy roof. Cuernavaca, “the city of eternal spring”, has become a very popular destination for couples from Mexico City. Its’ warm climate, relative proximity to the big city and beautiful gardens, make it a perfect wedding destination.

When we decided to build a crystal chapel our client suggested that we install air conditioning to counteract the heat that would be generated in the closed interior. We didn't approve the idea of using air conditioning, due to its high cost and the contamination of the surrounding environment it would engender, both important issues that led us to consider replacing the glass for another material. It was in the subsequent discussions that followed where we realized that we could continue to conserve the original crystal chapel design without the use of air conditioning, if we were to separate the U-profiled glass in the manner of lattice-work, and in so doing, create a well ventilated space as well as achieving a visual play between the interior and exterior.

The site that was decided upon for the chapel was carefully chosen, within an enormous area of abundant vegetation. We selected a location that would not require the removal of any of the existing plants or trees, under the large jacaranda trees, which form a natural arch over the chapel and provide it with ample shade, thus reducing temperatures during the day. We strived to bring about the least possible impact on the site.

The chapel was conceived in a box and compressed to form a peaked roof. Different shapes were traced on its lateral facades to form a prism which was then subtracted from the main volume. We covered the four facades with U-profiled glass and spaced each piece 10cm. apart from each other. In the altar façade, a cross was outlined and subtracted from the glass veil creating a window that looks out onto the surrounding garden. The exuberant vegetation and tall jacaranda trees permeate through the glass lattice walls, creating a graceful and rhythmical dialogue between the interior and exterior space.

: Megs Inniss

 

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Information La Estancia Chapel:

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Address: 
Cuernavaca, Mexico




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