Sunset Chapel by BUNKR Arquitectura

Sunset Chapel by BUNKR Arquitectura

Sunset Chapel by BUNKR Arquitectura

Sunset Chapel by BUNKR Arquitectura

Click images to enlarge

Remember high school? I try not to, but I was recently reminded of my cantankerous eleventh-grade art teacher. Once, she assigned us to draw the elevation of a non-existent religious structure and render the elevation with watercolors. My attitude (about everything) was something along the lines of “typology is stupid” so I drew a wonky roof supported by two stucco boxes punctuated with commercial glazing tinted black. This was not met with approval, and although my drawing and watercoloring were technically good, my design was technicallya gross frankenchurch assembled from chunks of a strip mall and covered with a roof that looked like a body bag.

But I didn’t learn my lesson. I still don’t think that churches are supposed to look a certain way or even feel like a church. Besides, churches always feel like prison to me so instead of going to church twice I year I watch Ernest Goes to Jail. Yes, I recognize the bias I bring into a religious space even if everyone else is still eager to read and assign symbolism as if their opinion were empirical evidence.

When I first saw images of the Sunset Chapel by BUNKR Arquitectura, I thought it was a fairly straightforward and interesting project (my bias here is that I like both faceted geometries and slightly off-kilter perspectives.) But not everyone agrees. Reading through the comments on this Dezeen article I was reminded of my art teacher listing the proper attributes of a church. Even a congregation of architects, maybe especially a congregation of architects, would argue about such things until they agreed to split and build two churches… and then four. Both churches and architects can be a fractious bunch.  

Does this chapel look like a chapel? Does it make sense as a place to mourn or does it make sense in the context of craggy Acapulco? Some will say yes and some will say no, but it’s not for virtual visitors. Ask someone who entombed a loved one there. Did he/she feel anchored or seasick by this wonky concrete rock?

They were probably worried about other things, but that’s just my opinion.


5 Comments Sunset Chapel by BUNKR Arquitectura

  1. Bobby Solomon May 9, 2011 at 10:44 AM

    @Hawksley – Totally, like the abstract barn version.

  2. Brennan May 9, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    I can definitely see both sides to that argument, and although I’m in love with facets and concrete with glass, I don’t think even the most devout would last long sitting through a service on those concrete benches (which don’t look at all ergonomic…)

    Cool architecture, definitely agree that churches shouldn’t have a cookie-cutter attitude but ignoring human needs (comfort) is poor design no matter the context.

  3. Brandon May 9, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    I’d go to church there. FOr sure.

  4. Coolie May 9, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Architecture is a slippery topic drenched with opinion and taste… add religion with all its baggage and get ready for some polarized reactions.

    This building responds to the site beautifully. The faceted concrete structure draw inspiration from the huge boulders dotting the area. The sanctuary here is cast within the timeless form of stone, embedded amongst the intricate green life of a forest, looking out upon the horizon and up to the sky (heavens?).

    Does this “look” like a church? Historically, no not really. But I would argue the space alone would render an image of divinity much better than the big box church down on US Highway 45, even without mass fabricated pews that have plush ass-cushions.

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