Capilla de la Tierra, Chicxulub Pueblo Yucatán by Cabrera Arqs

the Chapel of the Earth, at the end of a cavern

Project Specs


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▼场地鸟瞰,bird’s eye view of the site © Tamara Uribe

The Chapel of the Earth is located on the border between a rural housing development and a small town in the interior of Yucatán. Without wanting to impose a religious landmark that was part of the housing development, but a meeting point for all the residents of the area. It blends in, disappearing from the immediate landscape and  acting as a border element between the two territorial systems.

▼礼拜堂远观,view in distance © Tamara Uribe

▼礼拜堂融入自然景观,the Chapel disappearing from the immediate landscape © Tamara Uribe


The Chapel is ecumenical, born from the developer’s desire to serve the community made up of members of different religious beliefs. It is intended to be a place of reflection, silence and prayer, as well as having an intrinsic contact with nature. The arrival at the Chapel is initially preceded by a concrete frame that allows to visualize a long walk on a not very steep slope and escorted by Chaka trees, a path that seems to lead deep into the earth, exposing its walls in which natural textures invade the grooves of the layers of time and at the end a space where you can enjoy the silence and the sounds of nature.

▼混凝土框架标志着礼拜堂的入口,view in distance © Tamara Uribe

▼平缓的坡路仿佛一直延伸至地下深处,a path that seems to lead deep into the earth © Tamara Uribe

▼沿路种植Chaka树,the path escorted by Chaka trees © Tamara Uribe


Once the tour is finished, the Chapel welcomes you with a concrete slab that goes from side to side of the walls like a plane that sits on the stone walls; It is a slab of semicircular vaults, which makes conceptual reference to the churches and colonial buildings in the area, the materials are rustic, always seeking the most punctual relationship with nature, two rows of benches narrow the path to frame the space more important: The Altar.

▼混凝土顶板围合的礼拜空间,the Altar space with concrete slabs of semicircular vaults © Tamara Uribe


The second space, the main one, the Altar, seems to be the end of a cavern with the vault open creating a window to heaven. At the end of the cavern there is a body of water, referring to the cenotes that are formed as part of some underground river of the many that have their route in the subsoil of the peninsula. This creates even more a feeling of isolation and reflection, providing the ideal space to find yourself.

▼祭坛空间的穹顶开启,the vault open creating a window to heaven © Tamara Uribe


“The Chapel of the Earth” was designed to be interpreted freely by the “speaker.” It does not intend to impose a lesson in space, on the contrary, it invites you to take possession of it depending on the moment, the climate, the light and the time.Therefore, the interpretation of the architectural space varies and creates different expectations and conclusions.

▼夜景,感受时间与光线的变化,night view, feeling the change of time and light © Tamara Uribe

▼夜景,祭坛空间灯光设计,night view, light design of the Altar © Tamara Uribe


Only two elements are imposed in the context, first the “frame” of the entrance that serves as a reinterpretation of the atrium, where the journey into the chapel begins and where little by little the “speaker” detaches from the outside environment. The other is a “cross” at ground level on the edge of the void, which reinterprets a cenote, and is pierced in precast concrete slabs that allow the vocation of space to be identified from afar.

▼夜景,从祭坛内部看地上的十字,night view, view of the “cross” from the Alter space © Tamara Uribe

▼平面图,plan © Cabrera Arqs

▼立面图,elevations © Cabrera Arqs

▼剖面图,通向地下的教堂空间,sections, path leading to the underground space © Cabrera Arqs

Project name: Capilla de la Tierra
Completion Year:  2020
Size:180 m2
Project location: Chicxulub Pueblo Yucatán
Landscape/Architecture Firm: Cabrera Arqs / Enrique Cabrera Arquitecto
Contact e-mail:
Lead Architects: Enrique Cabrera Peniche
Design Team: Alejandra Andrade, Jorge Enriquez, Alberto Vargas
Clients: Residencial Baspul
Ing. Enrique Escalante Galaz (Predecon)
Arq. Octavio Osorio Acosta
Lic. Gerardo Millet Menéndez
Photo credits: Tamara Uribe

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