Capilla para el Tio / Visiondivision

Visiondivision never fails to share interesting projects with us, whether it be their zoo/waterfall or their latest – a chapel for Tio, an evil devil that owns a mountain in Bolivia. As unusual as it may sound, miners in Bolivia are faced with awful working conditions inside a mountain, and claim that Tio is responsible for claiming the 8 million lives that have been lost within the mountain. The project is a shrine to Tio, and will serve as a place the miners can leave gifts for the devil so he does not harm the men working in the mountain.

More about the shrine and more images after the break.

Visiondivision went cave exploring and found a suitable spot, a couple hundred meters inside, to place the shrine. A dynamite expert further refined the site to provide more room for an altar and walls.

Within five days, the cavernous niche was painted red, a silver altar was installed and a path of silver stone slabs leading up to it. The ground was covered with okra paint, enhancing the redness of the place. A red wooden bench was put on the lowest level, and the shrine was covered in glitter so when the head-lamps from the miners wander around, it will reflect a magical shine.

The project was extremely demanding and dangerous.  No work could be done while the miners were inside of the mountain, for extra people would have impeded the narrow passageways.  That left the only possible time to build the shrine  during the evening –  when the temperature dropped severely, never mind the location being at an altitude on 4200 meters.

The architects summed up their experiences for us, “Some people haven’t fully understood this project, rejecting it as something trashy, and not belonging to the stylish family of architecture perhaps. We can clearly see that it is hard in a western world to fully take it in if you are not aware of the circumstances. But sitting in this highest located chapel in the world with your fellow miners, embedded in a spellbinding red color that glitters in the light of the headlamps, as a contrast to all the blackness and misery in the cave, is a profound experience that you almost cannot feel in the developed world nowadays. ”

Watch an ancient sacrificial ritual inside the chapel.

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Cite: Karen Cilento. "Capilla para el Tio / Visiondivision" 04 Mar 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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