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Cristian Undurraga - Winner of the International Prize of Sacred Architecture 2012

The panel proposes to allocate to the project of the Capilla del Retiro, near the Sanctuary of Teresa de los Andes, seventy kilometers from Santiago, Chile, the First Prize of the fifth edition of the International Prize of Sacred Architecture, for its strong spiritual significance.

The design of the church, built by the architect Undurraga Cristian (Chile) has been designed for pilgrims wishing to transcendence and seeking silence and recollection.

The architecture is part of a natural environment highly expressive, with no interface with it, to find a hidden life and secret inside a space recreated, sinking into the ground and communicating with the exterior walls of the compartment, resolved with split stones .

Compared to the Ethiopian church in the shape of a cross carved into the earth and hidden from view, the volume emerges outside in its bright, white, as opposed to the treatment of the interior spaces.

Intimate and secret, the church, for the structural solutions adopted, appears to be suspended between heaven and earth.

The volume, pure and strictly scanned is placed on land, beyond the shaft, by means of supporting walls designed as extensions of the main walls, without these denounce structural elements that entrenched the ground. A cut of horizontal glass that runs on all the walls of the classroom ecclesial seamless raises the cover detached in turn from the walls.

The lightness of the system is counterbalanced by the gravity of the inner lining of wooden railway sleepers placed to close the space forcing his gaze downward.

Deliberately denied the view of the horizon to lead to introspection and inner peace.

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