Our religious project, La Estancia Chapel, was a wedding chapel conceived to celebrate the first day of a couple’s new life. It also had to serve a diametrically opposed purpose: to mourn the passing of loved ones. This premise was the main driving force behind the design, with the two aspects as natural antagonists. While the former celebrated life, the latter grieved death. All design decisions were based on this interplay of contrasts: glass versus concrete, transparency versus solidity, ethereal verses heavy, classical proportions versus apparent chaos, vulnerable versus indestructibility, ephemeral versus lasting.
The client brief was rather simple, almost naïve. First of all, the chapel had to take full advantage of the spectacular views. Secondly, the sun had to set right behind the altar cross (of course, this is only possible twice a year at the equinoxes). And last but not least, a section with the first group of crypts had to be included outside and around the chapel. Metaphorically speaking, the mausoleum would be in perfect utopian synchrony with a celestial cycle of continuous renovation.
Two elements obstructed the principal views: large trees and abundant vegetation, and a behemoth of a boulder blocking the main view of the sunset. In order to overcome these obstructions (blowing up the gigantic rock was absolutely out of the question for ethical, spiritual, environmental and economical reasons) the level of the chapel had to be raised at least five metres. Since only exotic and picturesque vegetation surrounds this pristine oasis, we sought to make the least possible impact on the site, reducing the footprint of the building to nearly half the floor area of the upper level.
Acapulco’s hills are made up of huge granite rocks piled on top of each other. In a purely mimetic endeavour, we worked hard to make the chapel look like just another colossal boulder atop the mountain.