Designing a congregation space for the Miami Catholic community requires an understanding of the identity of a multicultural group and the ability to translate it into a representative building. We were asked to design a Catholic Church devoted to the Mexican Virgin Our Lady of Guadalupe. FREE chose to incorporate other Latin American cultures as well, by representing all 27 Latin American Virgins.
The 27 Virgins are accommodated around Our Lady of Guadalupeâ€™s figure, creating 27 small sanctuaries. In a single gesture, the extrusion of this floor plan results in an organic, corrugated form; resembling the pleats of Our Lady of Guadalupeâ€™s cloth.
The vertical shape stands out of its context, and the volume is rotated towards the corner for more visibility. A roof light at the top filters natural light into the congregation space, projecting the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the presbytery.
The main entrance distributes to the main congregation space, ambulatory, confessionals and community service area in the level below. At the rear, a reserved area contains the sacristy, preparation and changing rooms, offices, small library and working spaces for the priest and personnel. The iconic shape performs an acoustic filter and dramatizes the ecumenical atmosphere of the church, outlining its identity in the metropolitan area of Miami.