Venice Biennale 2012: Ruta del Peregrino

© Nico Saieh

Each year, two million Mexican residents take part in the Ruta del Peregrino (Pilgrim’s Route) – a 117 kilometer pilgrimage through the mountains range of Jalisco that is centered around the adoration to the Virgin of Talpa. This religious voyage has been taking place since the 17th century and represents the pilgrim’s act of faith carried to penitence. In an effort to provide the route with better conditions, nine architecture firms collaborated to build seven architectural landmarks that provide shelter, services and outlook points for the pilgrims.

The Master Plan, designed by Tatiana Bilbao, Derek Dellekamp and Rozana Montiel, was presented in a special exhibition to resonate with the Venice Biennale 2012 theme “Common Ground”.

The nine practices involved since the start of the project are Ai Weiwei (Fake Design), Luis Aldrete Arquitectos, Tatiana Bilbao, Christ & Gantenbein, Dellekamp Arquitectos, Alejandro Aravena (Elemental), Godoylab, HHF Architects, and Rozana Montiel (Periférica).

Read more about the route of the pilgrim and see more pictures after the break. 

The exhibition description by the architects:

© Nico Saieh

“The works shown here represents the common ground shared by the diverse group of nine architects that have designed a series of structures for the route of the pilgrimade. Organized around a master plan by Tatiana Bilbao, Derek Dellekamp and Rozana Montiel, the project aims to provide the route with better conditions for the pilgrims and to maximize social and economic profit for the area by taking advantage of this massive event.

For the 13th International Architecture Exhibition, a series of architectural artifacts evoke the common ground of both the route and the architectural endeavor in a suggestive and analogical way.

© Nico Saieh

The display of working materials illustrates the Ruta del Peregrino as being poetic and artistic collaboration rooted in contemporary architectural practice and as an ongoing project related to personal memories, collective references, and mythical traditions.

Alongside these artifacts, a film by Christian Manzutto shows the live appropriation of the route by the pilgrims (you can see the video trailer below). The ruta del Peregrino stretches for a distance of 117 kilometers. Each year, approximately two million people from different states of Mexico participate in the pilgrimage, and walk through the mountains of Jalisco.

© Nico Saieh

The religious voyage, which has been taking place since the seventieth century, represents the pilgrim’s act of faith and penitence. The conditions of the route are harsh, and the pilgrim´s austere sacrifice is an essential part of the promise or offering that becomes the ritual of purification. The master plan presented here shows sensitivity to tradition by providing an ecological corridor with infrastructures and iconic architectural pieces that add to the religious ritual, ans also aims to appeal to a broader audience.

We have published some Ruta del Peregrino projects in the last two years. You can revisit them here:

Ruta del Peregrino Phase II Completed (a round-up of different projects) Lookout Point Espinazo del Diablo, by HHF Architects. Pilgrims Route Refuge, by Luis Aldrete

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Cite: Nico Saieh. "Venice Biennale 2012: Ruta del Peregrino" 18 Sep 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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