Stella Maris Chapel

Tacoronte / Spain / 2016

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For years, the neighbors of the fishermen village of El Pris had tried to promote the construction of a proper temple, under the vocation of the Virgen del Carmen (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) who is patroness of the sailors. Despite designating for it several different locations, this construction for various reasons was not possible. The image of the Virgin, for which the neighbors are strongly devoted, was stored in a warehouse belonging to a fishermen association, waiting to be placed in a sacred space.


The plot located on a rocky headland next to the old pier, was certainly complicated due to its small size and irregular shape. This difficulty was even increased by the significant slope of the base on which the chapel was supposed to be constructed (it was not possible to excavate the rock due to the danger which such works could cause for adjacent poor, self-build houses) as well as the restrictions of the law and limited economical resources.


In an area without architectural references, where dominate self-build constructions, the planned building aims to complete the façade of the houses erected on the headland. The challenge was to integrate the new volume without imposing it, so that the group of houses constituting the background of the chapel did not lose its character.


The chapel is designed as a single cylindrical volume, diagonally cut in its upper part. In this way, the interior space rises in height, as we approach the altar. Adjacent to the chapel was designed a small prayer space which resemble a cave for the fishermen of the area, as well as a sacristy. The arrangement of the volumes creates open space between both constructions which forms an access patio, protected from the strong winds.


The altar is oriented to the north. The altar table is located on the same level as the space of the nave. A single monolithic bank, which comes from the wall, provides the seats for prayers around the altar table. In the continuity of the wall is incorporated the Via Crucis (Stations of the Cross) which is composed of 14 stars. On the concrete altarpiece, there is an entrance of zenith light, which passing through a blue glass creates the ambient of the space.


On a material level the construction results from great austerity, the simplicity of the used materials and the use of resources such as natural lighting, which provide the building with an ascetic character that seeks the essential. The crushed concrete altarpiece contains blue glasses in its mass, which comes from the bottles of local white wine that was shared by the neighbors of El Pris after the celebration laying of the cornerstone.


The concrete, in contrast to the rough plaster finish of “tiroliano” (made of crushed volcanic stones from the island), together with the interaction of light on them, constitute the material aspect of the design. Polished concrete was used for the flooring of the nave while crushed concrete forms the altar and the ambon. The door is solid mulberry wood structure with handles of the same material forming letters A and M which stand for Ave Maria.


 


Architecture of the sacred
The circumference that forms the floor plan of the temple, represents the femininity of the Virgin Mary, the maternal figure who embraces the faithful. Thus, the Virgin del Carmen presides the space, being located in the north like metaphor of its function of guide to the sailors during the night. The Stella Maris or Star of the Sea.


Alejandro Beautell, architect


Location: El Pris (Village), Tacoronte (Municipality), Tenerife (Island), Canary Islands, Spain.


Architect: Alejandro Beautell


Team: Marius Micu |Architect, Eloy Fernández |Quantity surveyor, Flavio Dorta & Manuel Rosado  |Draftman


Fotografías: Efraín Pintos, José Oller, Flavio Dorta y Alejandro Beautell


Constructor: Construcciones Expósito


Completion date: November 2016


Budget: 65.954,29 €   


Area: 45,87 m²


[ES]


Ermita Stella Maris
El Pris, Tacoronte, Tenerife


Durante años, los habitantes del barrio de El Pris han intentado constituirse como comunidad de fieles y favorecer la construcción de un templo propio, bajo la advocación marinera de la Virgen del Carmen. Dicha construcción, por diversos motivos, y en distintas localizaciones, se había visto frustrada. La imagen de la Virgen, de gran devoción y tradición entre los vecinos, se encontraba depositada en la cofradía de pescadores, en tanto pudiera ser devuelta a un lugar de culto.


La parcela, situada junto al viejo embarcadero, era ciertamente complicada debido a sus reducidas dimensiones y a su forma irregular. A esta dificultad se sumaban la importante pendiente del estrato rocoso sobre el que se levantaría la ermita (el terreno no permitía el desmonte por el peligro de transmitir vibraciones a las precarias edificaciones anexas) y las consabidas restricciones de la Ley de Costas, amén de los escasos recursos económicos disponibles.


En una zona sin referentes arquitectónicos, donde proliferan edificaciones de autoconstrucción, la edificación proyectada pretende completar la fachada del conjunto edificado sobre el peñón. El reto consistía en integrarse sin imponerse, de forma que la agrupación de casas no perdiera su carácter.


La ermita se proyecta como un único volumen cilíndrico, truncado en su parte superior. De esta manera, el espacio interior se eleva en altura, conforme nos vamos acercando al altar. Como espacios sirvientes se proyectan un pequeño espacio de oración para los pescadores de la zona, a modo de cueva, y una sacristía. La disposición de los volúmenes favorece un espacio abierto entre ambas construcciones a modo de patio de acceso, protegido de los fuertes vientos dominantes.


El altar se sitúa orientado al norte. El espacio circular donde se ubica la asamblea es un espacio diáfano sin diferenciación de alturas. Un único banco monolítico, que nace de la pared, albergará las plazas de asiento necesarias entorno a la mesa del altar. En la continuidad de la pared se proyecta un Vía Crucis compuesto por 14 estrellas rehundidas en la misma. Sobre el retablo de hormigón abujardado se produce una importante entrada de luz cenital, a través de un vidrio azul, que cualifica el espacio resultante.


A nivel material, la construcción resulta de gran austeridad, la sencillez de los materiales utilizados y el empleo de recursos tales como la iluminación natural, dotan a la edificación de un carácter ascético que busca lo esencial. El retablo de hormigón abujardado contiene vidrios azules en su masa, que provienen de las botellas de vino blaco de la tierra que compartimos con los vecinos de El Pris tras la colocación de la primera piedra.


El hormigón visto, en contraste con los enfoscados rugosos acabados a la tiroliana,  junto a la interacción de la luz sobre éstos, constituyen la materialidad del proyecto. Se prescribe hormigón fratasado para el pavimento de la nave y hormigones abujardados en las piezas que conforman el altar y el ambón. La puerta es estructura de madera maciza de morera con tiradores del mismo material en forma a A y de M.


Arquitectura de lo sagrado
La circunferencia que conforma la proyección en planta del templo, representa la feminidad de la virgen María, la figura materna que abraza a los fieles. Así pues, la Virgen del Carmen preside el espacio, situándose en el norte como metáfora de su función de guía a los marineros durante la noche, la Stella Maris o Estrella del Mar.


Alejandro Beautell, arquitecto

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    For years, the neighbors of the fishermen village of El Pris had tried to promote the construction of a proper temple, under the vocation of the Virgen del Carmen (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) who is patroness of the sailors. Despite designating for it several different locations, this construction for various reasons was not possible. The image of the Virgin, for which the neighbors are strongly devoted, was stored in a warehouse belonging to a fishermen association, waiting to be placed in a...

    Project details
    • Year 2016
    • Work finished in 2016
    • Client San Juan Bautista Parish
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Churches
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