mexican studio bnkr arquitectura has recently shared with us new photos of their sunset chapel in acapulco, mexico. the project was designed to fulfill the client’s straightforward requests: the chapel is to take advantage of the picturesque views with the sun setting directly behind the altar cross, and the first phase of crypts are to be located outside adjacent to the building. the site, consisting of a densely forested landscape with a subterranean makeup of layered granite rock that occasionally surface and dot the topography with large boulders, incited a moral and practical approach to the form and construction of the project. 

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
the form mimics a granite boulder like the various ones located around the area
image © jaime navarro (also first image)

 

 

the chapel, their second religious commission, serves the opposite purpose of their first, la estancia wedding chapel, and as such the design derived from the conceptual juxtaposition of the two diametrically opposed projects. while the wedding chapel was translucent, light, and ethereal, the sunset chapel took on an opaque, solid, and permanent nature. in order to preserve the landscape the structure of cast-in-place concrete is anchored on a relatively small footprint, angling out through a faceted facade to occupy a larger space amid the tree canopies. a large boulder on site led bnkr arquitectos to raise the altar five meter above grade to obtain the views without needing to damage the site. the large form itself mimics the look and nature of the granite rocks sitting one on top of the other so that it blends into the surroundings despite being an obviously man-made structure. 

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
the majority of the form occupies an elevated area in space minimizing the connection to the ground
image © esteban y sebastian suarez

 

 

a large cave-like opening on the largest face serves as the main entry leading into a large faceted room that transitions visitors from light to darkness before returning back to light again. a hanging staircase follows the irregular angles of the walls supported by slender steel cables. once on the second level, the concrete walls adapt a new aesthetic. rhythmic voids form thin columns that suggest a continuation of the outer envelope while allowing for 360-degree views around the main hall. terraced seating orients towards the altar at the far end of the structure enjoying the tallest floor-to-ceiling height. the back wall consists of a large opening capped in glass with aluminum mullions making a large cross in the center. in the distance, the sun setting over the ocean becomes a daily scene. 

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
the faceted nature of the envelope creates a different form from various angles
image © esteban y sebastian suarez

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
the altar is elevated five meters above the ground to gain views over an existing boulder
image © esteban y sebastian suarez

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
the entry space transitions from the exterior to the light-filled upper level, coccooning guests from the outside
image © esteban y sebastian suarez

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
image © jaime navarro

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
the slatted upper level enjoys views and natural light throughout the day
image © esteban y sebastian suarez

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
the altar wall consists of a large glass cross in front of distant views
image © esteban y sebastian suarez

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
image © esteban y sebastian suarez

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
image © esteban y sebastian suarez

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
image © jaime navarro

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
image © jaime navarro

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
the interior glows yellow with each sunset
image © jaime navarro

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
image © jaime navarro

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
image © jaime navarro

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
image © jaime navarro

bnkrarquitectos_sunsetchapel
image © esteban y sebastian suarez

 

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    architecture news