Ermita Stella Maris
Nominated to win 2A Europe Architecture Awards (2ACAA 2019)
Architects: Alejandro Beautell
Area: 45 m²
Photographs: José Oller, Alejandro Beautell, Flavio Dorta
Manufacturers: Marrero, Cementos TEIDE
For years, the neighbors of the fishermen village of El Pris had tried to promote the construction of a proper temple, under the vocation of the Virgen del Carmen (Our Lady of Mount Carmel) who is patroness of the sailors. Despite designating for it several different locations, this construction for various reasons was not possible. The image of the Virgin, for which the neighbors are strongly devoted, was stored in a warehouse belonging to a fishermen association, waiting to be placed in a sacred space.
The plot located on a rocky headland next to the old pier, was certainly complicated due to its small size and irregular shape. This difficulty was even increased by the significant slope of the base on which the chapel was supposed to be constructed (it was not possible to excavate the rock due to the danger which such works could cause for adjacent poor, self-build houses) as well as the restrictions of the law and limited economical resources.
In an area without architectural references, where dominate self-build constructions, the planned building aims to complete the façade of the houses erected on the headland. The challenge was to integrate the new volume without imposing it, so that the group of houses constituting the background of the chapel did not lose its character.
The chapel is designed as a single cylindrical volume, diagonally cut in its upper part. In this way, the interior space rises in height, as we approach the altar. Adjacent to the chapel was designed a small prayer space which resemble a cave for the fishermen of the area, as well as a sacristy. The arrangement of the volumes creates open space between both constructions which forms an access patio, protected from the strong winds.