Sunken into the ground, this round chapel in Cuernavaca, Mexico is both discreet and spectacular. Accessed via a circular ramp that flows into the ground, the Ecumenical Chapel by BNKR Arquitectura is a space for contemplation and meditation. The non-religious chapel is open to the outdoors but protected from the elements by glass bars. It is filled with daylight and topped with a pond of water, which doubles as a landscape element in the client's yard.
The clients visited BNKR Arquitectura‘s La Estaancia Chapel in Cuernavaca and loved the feel of it, so they asked the firm to design a private chapel for their own yard at their home. They asked for the chapel to be non-religious and discreet, but also a spectacular space where they would feel something special while inside. The result is a sunken chapel that is barely visible from the house and the yard. In fact, the roof is made to look like a pond that is part of the landscape.
As visitors approach the chapel, they see a downward spiral and blooming flowers that direct them down into the space. Conceived as a place for meditation, it is a space that is in between life and death and a journey down into the chapel is also a journey into one’s self. Visitors spiral into the oval space through an opening in the glass bars that form the exterior. A piece of metal and a large quartz crystal sit in the center while an oculus above pulls filtered daylight in through water on the roof and into the space. The protected zone is surrounded by vegetated walls to hush exterior noises and add life to the space.
Images ©Jaime Navarro