Location: Chile.

  • 6th Biennial of Architecture ‘Barbara Cappochin’ 2013, Padova, Italy. Finalist. 40 Best International Projects
  • 7 International Architecture Festival Eme3 2012, Barcelona, España; Exhibition
  • 50 Emergency Chapels “Rebuilding Chile with Christ: A Mantle for Chile”

After the Earthquake of February 27, 2010, 80% of the temples in the stricken zones were devastated. 47 percent of the country’s Catholic churches were damaged. 12 dioceses affected, between San Felipe and Temuco. 545 religious sites were damaged, of which 440 correspond to temples. Damages were reported in the temples of various features: 19% are associated with severe damage and collapse completely demolished; 24% severe damage but eventually would restore the temple, 25% substantial damage but recovered, 32% to damage repairable. 80% of the temples in the affected areas were destroyed. More than a million Catholics lost their place to pray. The reconstruction of all temples will cost $ 221.000.000.*
Facing this reality, Fundación Ayuda a la Iglesia que Sufre (Help the Church that Suffers Foundation) lunched the campaign: ‘Capillas de Emergencia: Reconstruyamos Chile con Cristo’ (Emergency Chapels: Lets Rebuild Chile with Christ), that what to raise funds to build 50 chapels in the devastated areas. The design, inspired by the Mantle of Mary, is a steel frame and stretched architectural textile that collects all requirements for the correct realization of the celebrations with a special emphasis in the correct natural lighting and ventilation. The Chapel has an area of 185 m2 and a capacity for 100 people seated. Each chapel was built in 12 days. In May 2011, the 45 emergency chapels were built.*
Before the lost of temples, some communities celebrated the mass, the baptism and funerals on the streets or squares. The mere presence of a church has important consequences: it allows the man to raise his eyes and not lose confidence in God, and also gives space to each community’s social activities. The fully organized project carried out together with localities, where there are already communities gathering to practice the faith, requested an emergency chapel. For the people of towns, their Temple is the venue for many activities and needs, both spiritual and material. Knowing the commitment of each community with its church, a decision was made to support and help repair the damage to temples caused by the earthquake in 2010. These chapels would allow the parish priests of churches damaged by the earthquake to welcome and comfort the faithful giving them a sign of hope, while they rebuild their churches without making hasty decisions about reconstruction in the heritage, economic, and social development field. These emergency chapels are not nor intend to be a definitive solution.

This project 50 Emergency Chapels for Chile opens as a dialogue from the love of Mary at the foot of the Cross. Above is the sky, it’s Chile: a devastated place. Folds are shown as a human gesture with which the architecture reflects the devotion of somebody who opens his hand in a caress.
The chapel represents the mantle of our Virgin del Carmen. And from the folds of that mantle, from its chiaroscuro, the light and earth hug establishes, the Christ we come to from the feet of Mary. The ephemeral chapel project is intended as a dialogue that leads to Mary’s son.
Mary’s mantle, that covers and protects, builds the place where the faithful take refuge. That’s where the soul is collected and communicated with God; where the feast of the liturgy and consecration is celebrated. It is the act of faith that gathers and communicates.
The mantle builds and creates a place. It holds and protects.
To gather the people of God in hard times, Mary covers and takes care of her children with her mantle. At the same time, the children put up the house of God, their own home.

Client: Anna Doe