Fr Ee Team: Fernando Romero, Julio Gonzalez, Gabriela Bojalil, Paul Van der Voort, Guillermo Méndez, César López, Astrid Rovisco, Rodolfo Rueda, Guillermo Ramírez, Tiago Pinto de Carvalho, Juan Pedro López, Ana Medina, Estela Escudero, Paulina de Luna
Collaborators: Incarso, Inpros, PC Constructores, DAF, FaPresa, Ladisa, Hubard y Bourlon, Ticonsa, Ce Ingeneria
Inaugurated in 2010 by President Felipe Calderón and Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard Causabon, the religious center of Plaza Mariana opened its doors to welcome over 20 million visitors annually. The 800 million peso development designed by FR-EE transforms and revitalizes the area around Basilica of Guadalupe in the northern part of Mexico City, which draws 1 million people on pilgrimage every December and is second to the Vatican as the most popular Catholic attraction in the world.
FR-EE’s design for the 68 000m2 development is based on the coat of arms of Pope John Paul II, which features a Marian Cross with the letter M in one of its quadrants. Here, the M is replaced by the figure of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and the four quadrants of the volume are defined by a great glass cross that creates an aisle and provides access to the site from the Basilica’s Atrium of the Americas.
The building is divided into four main functions, the Evangelical Center with an auditorium for 850 people, a Guadalupe Museum, a 13 000m2 naturally lit and ventilated market place to centralize over a 1000 vendors who previously occupied the surrounding streets and a subterranean Columbarium for more than 120 000 burial urns. The functions are connected and visually divided through a cross-shaped corridor with skylights.
The Columbarium is covered by a large public plaza above ground which offers informal seating to the neighborhood’s residents and the visitors of the religious center. The plaza connects the original Basilica of Guadalupe with the facilities at Plaza Mariana through the cross-shaped corridor, which is illuminated during the night and appears as a huge cross when flying over Mexico City.