A church between tradition and modernity by Moneo Brock

moneo-brock-arquitectura-iglesia-mexico-more-with-less-10Architecture must be aimed to serve the city and its inhabitants and, therefore, it should be able to evolution with societies over the years. The architecture studio Moneo Brock has successfully reinterpreted one of the most traditional architectures, the church, with the result of a project adapted to current needs –beyond its religious function- and turned towards the surrounding public space.

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The church “El señor de la Misericordia” is located in the centre of the urban complex of Pueblo Serena, a new commercial and social city core in Monterrey. Due to its location, the design of this new church should dialogue with a great urban plaza and offer not only a religious space but also a place for meeting and congregation. In so doing, the church results in a place for meditation as well as an educational centre whose programme and activities could be opened onto the public space, creating a direct connection between indoor and outdoor.

The new church designed by Moneo Brock arises as a reference urban and social point, far beyond its religious function

With a free-standing geometric volume, the church presents a modern and solid urban image. The main façade is a simple flat white wall without any ornament that emphasizes its front character toward the open public space; a plain and austere materiality that announces a calmness space of retreat inside. This plane is elevated creating a sort of cantilevered canopy, which generates a wide permeable entrance formed by multiple hinged transparent doors.

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On the other hand, we can observe how the project conserve certain architectural aspects coming from traditional churches. An example of which is the distribution of the plan, with a central nave leading to the altar, as well as the design of the chapels, the stained glass windows or the chancel. Likewise, the bell tower is high-rise in order to be seen from the distance and so act as a reference point for orientation. The result is an architecture easily recognized as religious typology that achieves to introduce, at the same time, a modern design.
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One of the main design strategies was to introduce natural light inside the church. Thanks to the geometry of the architecture itself, sunlight arrives to the different chapels from above through rhomboid-shaped skylights. Since each of these openings have a different orientation, the light changes throughout the day. Furthermore, it was also essential to have an optimal acoustic in the liturgical space. In this respect, the materials choice –such as modular wooden pieces- as well as the way they were fitted, was the key to prevent echo and have the sound accordingly spread.

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Photos by Moneo Brock and Jorge Taboada

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