A Cloak which Irradiates and Welcomes
This project opens like a dialogue from the love of Mary at the foot of the Cross. It is Chile, it is a mountain in Lo Barnechea at the foot of the Andes Mountain Range. Above is the sky, below the valley of Santiago. We began with the proposal of a building which enters the earth, which sinks into the folds of the mountain to emerge from them towards the view of the valley and the open sky. The folds sink and surge from the land, and the buildings, the walkways, the rooms, are the human gesture with which architecture gathers those folds and displays them with the devotion of a hand which opens in a caress. The project runs through the folds of the mountain not as an imposition but as an embrace.
Each fold of the mountain reveals itself to us like the folds of a cloak. The project shows us the works which emerge and are gathered from the folds of Mary’s cloak before the cross to gather us from the purity of our gaze. The buildings of this project are drawn from the folds of the mountain and in this process signal the unity of the landscape and humanity offering the complex and the community the freedom to traverse and enjoy the environment.
The mountain is thus the cloak and from the folds of this cloak, from its chiaroscuro, it establishes the embrace of the light and the land, of the Christ whom we reach through Mary at the foot of the Cross, and of the men who contemplate in each corner of the landscapes, in each color, in the city of the valley, God’s gaze as he watches over them.
The church and the plaza of the sky dominate in this way the views over the surroundings, highlighting the sanctuary as the center of the complex. From there the project descends sinking and emerging from the junctures of the soil, establishing a great visual axis which connects the community with nature and the sanctuary as the point of equilibrium between man and God.
A series of esplanades as look-out points represent the family which walks the path by education towards the sanctuary. The 14 resting points along the path which goes connecting the architectural volumes, symbolize the 14 stations of the Passion. This path enters and exits from the earth, establishing private spaces which, permanently open to the sky, move you to self-communion and retirement in the same manner as the path of the Passion goes through suffering to deliver to us the wonderful news of redemption.
Like the memory of Redemption, the light of the sky permanently enters the inner recesses of the mountain. The corridors of the buildings, the undulating gashes which allow the vertical or diagonal entrance of light, will always show us the sky, its aura, before opening up to the view of the immensity of the landscape and the valley of Santiago.
The buildings enter and exit from the folds of the mountain following the slope of the landscape and it is these folds which configure the public spaces both inside and outside. The dry grass color of the exposed concrete of the buildings reminds us of the landscapes of Chile’s central valleys, pointing out at the same time that all human work is part of the divine work, of its colors, simultaneously humble and wonderful, simple. The dry grass color of the concrete of all the buildings says to us that architecture is no more that the gesture which recognizes the sanctity and permanence of the landscape. The project is proposed as a dialogue which leads us to that landscape as the love of the Mother leads us to her Son.
From the fold of the mountain the community emerges to the view of the valley. Mary’s cloak and its folds are the dialogue of piety, the love of Christ and of nature. On the mountain of the sanctuary of the “beautiful place” the architectural gesture shows us the sacred character of all we see.
Below, the city of men is viewed from an architectural work which wishes, above all, to show us the gaze of the Mother which reveals to us the Son and irradiates. Thus Santiago
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