Fernando Menis, Architect

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

The site area is inhabited by an under-privileged population. In this context, the church is meant as a catalyst for change: a place of urban centrality and reference, to help define a new identity for the local community. Four massive volumes resembling large rocks rise from the site. The steep topography requires a perimeter ramp for access to the square and to the second floor of the church. The openings between the volumes admit air and daylight. The building appears austere, while the overhead light flows down to reveal the richness of textures and imbues the interior with a mystical atmosphere.

Concrete is used as a common material, which permitted working with local companies and resources. The energy efficiency provided by concrete, due to its isotropic nature, is reinforced here by the thermal inertia of the thick solid walls. For the acoustic quality of the spaces, raw concrete is used in two ways: raw concrete for diffusion; for absorption, the surface of the raw concrete was mixed with light and porous volcanic stone (picón) and chipped away. The acoustics are comparable to an opera house, suitable for singing and speech. The design of this church is included in New York’s Museum of Modern Art collection.

Jury Comments
This is an amazing work. It appears as if blocks of stone have been chiseled and hollowed out to create spiritual spaces in their use of light and texture. It creates intimacy and warmth. The interior surfaces also enhances the acoustics. Structural components are expressive. There is particular attention on acoustics and daylighting.

Project Team Members

Babak Asadi
Juan Bercedo
María Berga
Roberto Delgado
Javier Espílez
Andrés Ferrer
Niels Heinrich
Yanira León
Joanna Makowska Czerska
Paula Manzano
Natalia Pyzio
Raúl Rivera
Gerardo Rodríguez
Esther Senís
Andreas Weihnacht
Julia Zasada

Project Consultants

Juan José Gallardo (Structure), Pedro Cerdá/i2A ACOUSTIC&AUDIOVISUAL ENGINEERING (Acoustics), J. Oliver Oliva Alonso/ DUAL INGENIEROS, José Ángel Marrero/NUEVA TERRAIN, Fernando Javier Hernández/ PRISMA INGENIEROS (HVAC), Rafael Hernández, Andrés Pedreño, Ruperto Santiago Hernández (Quantities Survey).

Main Providers

CEMEX Spain (Concrete), PERI Spain (Formwork systems), ZUMTOBEL – José María Martín Piñeiro/ MP LIGHTCAN (Lighting).

Other Providers

ESTRUCTURAS METALICAS DELSUA CANARIAS (Locksmith works), Núria Hernández/ MARRERO CRISTALEROS (Glass), Ramón Hernández de la Guardia /JOTUN (Paint), Fernando Ascanio / ZONA VERDE (Gardening).

Construction Companies