In order to create a threshold between the Earth and the sky, a temple was placed in between
by Mariana Jaramillo
Saint Mary of the Knights Chapel (Capilla Santa María de los Caballeros) is a project located in Bogota, Colombia, as part of the masterplan of the school Gimnasio Campestre, designed by Pacheco Estudio de Arquitectura.
Conceptually, this temple represents the interstice where the divine meets the human. The human part of the project is represented by the ground floor of the chapel being excavated one level underneath that of the masterplan and where most of the program takes place. This representation takes us closer to our earthly condition. The divine is represented by a levitating roof that covers the space, creating a sense of lightness. This, in order to illustrate the immaterial. The most important space is then created in this void between both worlds; this point of tension becomes the temple, not only physically but also spiritually.
This project is austere and clear, it uses architectural resources such as using the least amount of walls possible, but very carefully positioned. Also, using orthogonal geometry, and with the power of natural elements like water in the outer reflective pools that duplicate the space, the light that plays with the delicate texture of the concrete and the fire that is always present in the tomb of the founder of the school located in the courtyard. Many other elements of catholicism are referenced throughout the project like the number 7 which is a sacred number, and is as well the number of micro-lines that compose the texture of the concrete, or the number 12, reminding us of the apostles, that is the same number of lights on the ceiling that are more brilliant than the rest.
This is definitely a place to be wandered and discovered adding a fourth dimension to it: time. Throughout its details and the way that they interact with its environment and the changing weather, creating shadows, textures and reflections, this project is a place to stand still for a second, away from the noise of the city but within the city, and to open our spiritual side.