The client brief was to plan a large township at Murcia in Spain. The design creates a development plan with 545 acres of open space out of a total of 725 acres. A very small portion of the site is along the hills that skirt the site. Looking at the orientation and observing the views, it was decided to create a chapel at the highest point of the site which is buildable.
Framing a gently undulating landscape with a view of the ocean in the distance this small chapel is perched at a height of 90m on a steeply sloping hill. Visitors approach the chapel from a circuitous road leading up to the hill. A small doorway nestled amidst landscape mounds organically merging with the hill, forms the first glimpse.
As one enters, the volume gradually increases with the doorway widening into a cavernous space created with a large cantilevered concrete roof that folds up from one side. The cross sits on the edge of a rectilinear water pool with an infinity edge that merges with the ocean in the distance. The tiers in the chapel step down along the existing contours of the site while the roof increases in height simultaneously framing the view beyond.
The water from the pool descends into a lower trough that creates a small waterfall with a mist creating a blur at the floor level of the chapel making it seemingly float above the hill. The minimal intervention of structural elements in creating this space accentuates the natural beauty of the site and its panoramic views. The design in its simplicity celebrates the seamless integration of the internal volume with the open landscape beyond creating a space conducive to contemplation.
Oriented towards the north with a natural green cover on the south, the design of this small chapel creates a space that will remain cool throughout the year sheltered from the southern sun in a city with temperatures ranging from 16° to 38°. Its design facilitates complete cross ventilation and reduces the need for any mechanical system rendering it energy efficient.
Designed in response to the climate of its city and the location of its site, the chapel in its simplicity creates a unique space with its sculptural quality.
The walls, the floor and a large cantilevered roof in exposed concrete with natural green cover on the south.
The site is steeply contoured with a level difference of 9 meters.
Winning the LEAF World Future Building of 2015, being the overall winner of MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects 2014 at Cannes, France and winning 3 A + Architizer Awards in New York in 2014, Sanjay Puri Architects have now won 74 international architecture awards.
The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design’s International Architecture Awards in 2014, 2012 & 2011. The World Architecture Festival Awards in 2015, 2014,2012, 2011 & 2010, 9 World Architecture Community Awards U.K and the Hospitality Design Awards New York 2015,2012 & 2010 are some of the other awards won by the firm in last 3 years. With 74 international awards and 72 national awards, the firm has architectural projects in Spain, Montenegro, Mauritius, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Montreal and Dallas in addition to projects in 40 Indian cities.