Second place for Santa Maria del Mar Basilica awarded to Sanzpont Arquitectura
A smoothly flowing architectural vision by Sanzpont [Arquitectura] has won second place in an invited competition to design Santa Maria del Mar Basilica in Cancun. The architects have gathered inspiration for the design from the heritage of Santa Maria, including the Mantle of Santa Maria de Mar, also using the Sea from the initial idea into a design as an identity.
The gently sculpted building has taken on a contemporary design based on traditional arch systems which have been used in churches for centuries. A balance between liturgical celebrations, providing space for a large congregation, whilst creating a pure and serene space has been seamlessly achieved by reinforcing the identity of the church through symmetry and proportions.
Whilst considering religious symbolism as architectural identity, the architects have transposed the mantle into the design as the roof where it captures the delicacy and gracefulness of Santa Maria de Mar. The result is a space which is sheltered and protected by a flowing roof, reminiscent of the waves and sea nearby.
Semi-open spaces are created which break the boundary between the internal spaces and nature outside. The architects have choreographed a series of walkways that form plazas, linked to create a strong connection between these plaza areas and the religious centre.
The undulating roof is contrasted by an observation tower designed as a monumental cross which provides the Basilica with its identity while creating an urban and tourist attraction from which visitors are able to access beautiful panoramic views. The Cross Observation Tower would become the highest point within Calcún and provide a unique urban reference for the whole city.
Bioclimatic strategies were employed to achieve a high level of sustainability though the use of natural renewable energy throughout. Natural cross ventilation alongside use of natural lighting where possible ensured that the environmental affect of the design was reduced to an optimum amount.