Located in San Juan Cosalá, Jalisco (Mexico), RLJ Chapel consist of a religious building that is part of a master plan for an events and hospitality venue, nearby the Chapala lake.
We stablished our initial strategy on integrating the building to the immediate context and the site's conditions, adapting the project to the natural topography and preserve the existing vegetation. Considering this, we opted for the use of exposed materials, with the objective to merge the building into its landscape, being the exposed concrete and steel the main materials, contrasting with natural materials such as wood, quarry and stone from the region.
As a religious building in a traditional community, the project needed to promote the integration of its inhabitants, creating the chapel's access over the main road, in such way that all the passers-by could visit the building, despite being located Into a private plot.
Outside, the project has an access patio that works as an atrium and public plaza, built with carved stone, and communicates to the restrooms, the sacristy and the chapel’s interior. This common space is surrounded by two massive elements of stone and concrete, that frames the view towards the mountain landscape.
The main volume is formed by two large concrete walls and a steel structure that shapes the roof. This open structure was designed as a double-pitched roof that changes its shape into a flattened roof, creating an interesting visual and acoustic effect.
The interior is composed by a 12 wood benches for 72 people, a choir area and the altar area, this wooden elements were fabricated by the studio's workshop. The concrete walls are extended to house an uncovered courtyard -that communicates to the underground crypts-, and holds in the middle a steel cross suspended, which was designed and manufactured in-house. This patio crowns to the bottom with a pink stone wall designed with a geometrical path that emphasize the patio's depth.
Our objective was to create a place of worship with a materiality and simplicity defined by a chapel’s essential elements, where the natural light entrance and play of textures creates a serene and emotive environment. By this way, the project is defined as a pure volume which is exalted by the use of structures and patterns that creates a sacred geometry, combined with the use of natural materials and daylight entrance.
Ricardo Yslas Gámez Arquitectos is a multidisciplinary architecture and construction firm founded in 2002 by Ricardo Yslas, based in Mexico City. The studio has been recognized with national and international awards that include: International Architecture Awards 2017 by The Chicago Athenauem, III Biennial of Architecture of Mexico City, Dezeen Awards 2019 and XVI International Biennial of Architecture of Buenos Aires.