Latitude/Longitude: -33.62291, -70.58823
We were asked to design a Church for a poor community in a peripheral neighborhood of Santiago. Being new to this kind of challenge, the first question that arises is: how do you think a Church? How do you project this? A great coincidence brought a young theologist to our office, she wanted us to design her house.
She told us:
“The church is the shape of the community.” This community is joyful, generous and hard working. They want a circular space, where the altar is closer to the people, with wide aisles to meet and chat, they don’t want it to look like a little house, but to actually have the appearance of a temple.
The architectonic gesture that shapes the church, seeks to drive us, wrap us and connect us with the divine. The shape is generated by a single ascending wall that wraps on itself without closing completely, but opening towards the light, as Father God’s hands lovingly welcoming his community.
Two voids are created: the inside void for prayer, and the open void at the atrium, where meetings happen. These voids are connected by a path that starts at the base of the bell tower and continues towards the highest point of the church. Here, these different magnitudes flow and converse.
The atrium has the geographic magnitude of the Andean landscape, and also carries a divine magnitude. It makes a vertical dimension appear from the urban space, within the context of a short building’s area. At the same time, the bell tower turns into a milestone of the neighborhood, easily noticed from afar. The assembly, interior void where the rite of Mass happens, is a serene, silent and centered space.
Contributed by Cazú Zegers