Chapel in Valleacerón / S.M.A.O.

Architect: Sancho-Madridejos Architecture Office
Location: Almadén, Ciudad Real,
Principals: Sol Madridejos & Juan Carlos Sancho
Assistant – Technical Architect: Martin Pozuelo
Project Leader: Luis Renedo
Collaborators: Luis Renedo, Juan A. Garrido, Emilio Gómez Ramos, Patricia Planell, Marta Toral, Andrey García, Javier Moreno
Project year: 1996-2001
Photographs: Hisao Suzuki

models 02

The idea of situating and relating a series of objects in the landscape- Dwelling, Chapel, Hunting pavilion and Guard´s residence- gave the project a dual significance: in addition to the close relationship between landscape, objects and itinerary -between space and objects-, each item had to provide a different response with different emphasis, from the most symbolic to the most silent or private. The unifying thread was to be the concept of the fold: the fold as a hidden generator of different spaces.

The Chapel is developed around the study and manipulation of a focally tensed “box-fold”.

models 01

It is set at the top of a slight rights, making it the reference point in the landscape seen from the property entrance 2 Km away at a low point, as well as in different visions from the entire itinerary.

The Chapel has a naked design and lacks artificial lighting. The exterior-interior spatial relationship determines its focus, its meaning. Only a cross and an image at the focal point underscore the symbolic aspects of the project.

The proposed fold in the box, the corbusian “boîte”, gives rise to a single material: golden that captures all the nuances demanded of the volume, from the trapped direct light that bursts in like an additional plane in the spatial composition, to the transmission of the unstable, coloured smell of dawn. Light thus takes on the role of a second material in the Chapel – a material that contrasts with the – fragile, changing, mobile, unstable; dominating or vanishing.

Cite: "Chapel in Valleacerón / S.M.A.O." 30 Apr 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • Bo Lucky

    Compare simplicty of form and function to the Prayer & Meditation Pavillion in Sudan
    In my opinion Sudan definitly wins…

  • Opium

    I agree with bo…too many tricks in this one…tipical spanish concrete paella…lot of bullshit talk and in the end you get this very boring space that will eventually appear in one of El croquis issues being sold as spain’s contribution to architectural inovation.

  • francis

    WOW! Lines, edges, planes, angles, light, concrete … one word – Modern. No isms, no ity. I want to pray there.

  • Bernie Madoff

    Will that chapel make me believe in god again? In any case it will make me believe more in human creativity and inventivness. They really created a “spiritual” place. Beatiful. Hence, I would definitely use it to house my personal gym. Wonderful things could happen in that space.

  • u

    it looks like 2008 torino competition’s(info point) 1st place project, paperbox..

  • jlbr

    at some point it got too “pointy”, one too many folds i’d say…

    like a tadao ando design gone astray.

  • Duc C. Nguyên

    Chapel in Villeaceron / S.M.A.O.:
    Architect: Sancho-Madridejos Architecture Office Location: Almadén, Ciudad Re..

  • Ultra man

    Don’t agree with Bo Lucky, the Prayer & Meditation Pavilion in Sudan feels like a public toilet being manicured. Or a prison cell being painted in white.
    This space looks higher and has a real interesting philosophical point of view, the fold, which goes back to thinking about mathematics and god, thus Leibniz…
    The first one is an easy politically correct white box for new age architects, this one is trying to elevate your mind in time where science and faith need to confront each other in a positive way.

  • francis

    Mathematics and space indeed! If I may reference the Grande Arche in La Defence, Paris … they belong to the “cube” family or the “tesseract”. It is a very rich language for architecture that is inexhaustible, and yearning to be elaborated.
    If Architecture is about occupying a space. The architects here have captured a space and crafted a space from it – very clever, and have found Architecture successfully I believe. The architecture is so deliberate in arresting a space to the point that it does not have a path leading to it. The front, entrance side, denote it is not even connected to the ground. It has the genes of Corbusier.
    Architecture should not be considered subjectively nor by comparison (embroil in styles). They are disservices to self or otherwise.

  • Antti Paasivaara Chapel in Villeaceron / S.M.A.O

  • Cory Hall

    The morphology of this chapel in Villeaceron is incredible

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  • HSXK

    I do like it, so amazing form. It’s creative, and just the way I appreciate to design!

  • Gman


  • Gman

    verging on pointless

  • Adit

    Good Idea, Brilliant…

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  • James Kingsley
  • nath

    perfect, another idea of simplicity dreamt in imagination, executed with effect. concept to outcome is ideal and results in an architecture without influence, purely space and function. can’t express the praise enough.

  • jc

    thank you Francis and Nath.We are architects.

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  • FAUST eduardo

    Capela Villeaceron | Espanha | Arqs Sol Madridejos & Juan Sancho

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  • DCV

    I’d like to pray there. It reminds me of Pascal Arquitectos’ Casa de Meditación. Especially in the management of light and materiality.

    To Archdaily managers, why don’t you apply here the system of comment rating (positive-negative) that is currently used in Plataforma Arquitectura?

  • +++


  • Luis Bolaños

    not a new one, but I still love this chapel #concrete #architecture


    A Chapel is developed around the study & manipulation of a focally tensed “box-fold” #concretebuilding

  • joel panish

    Magnificent! I will be in Spain this October & would like to photograph it.
    Can anyone just drive up & photograph it?
    Is an appointment needed?
    Is it possible to go in?
    I would appreciate any information you could email me.
    Thank you,
    Joel Panish