Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura


Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

This boulder-shaped building in Acapulco, Mexico, is a mausoleum by Mexcian studio Bunker Arquitectura.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Called Sunset Chapel, the faceted building appears to balance on the rocky terrain and a triangular-shaped aperture forms the entrance.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

The chapel is located on an upper floor and is reached by internal steps.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Slits in the walls provide views out to the surrounding landscape and also allow slivers of light into the space.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Concrete pews are oriented towards a glazed wall with a crucifix on the surface.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Crypts are located outside and around the chapel.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Photographs are by Esteban Suárez.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

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Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Here's some more information from the architects:

Sunset Chapel

Our first religious commission was a wedding chapel conceived to celebrate the first day of a couple’s new life. Our second religious commission had a diametrically opposite purpose: to mourn the passing of loved ones. This premise was the main driving force behind the design, the two had to be complete opposites, they were natural antagonists.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

While the former praised life, the latter grieved death. Through this game of contrasts all the decisions were made: Glass vs. Concrete, Transparency vs. Solidity, Ethereal vs. Heavy, Classical Proportions vs. Apparent Chaos, Vulnerable vs. Indestructible, Ephemeral vs. Lasting…

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

The client brief was pretty simple, almost naïve: First, the chapel had to take full advantage of the spectacular views. Second, the sun had to set exactly behind the altar cross (of course, this is only possible twice a year at the equinoxes). And last but not least, a section with the first phase of crypts had to be included outside and around the chapel.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Metaphorically speaking, the mausoleum would be in perfect utopian synchrony with a celestial cycle of continuous renovation. Two elements obstructed the principal views: large trees and abundant vegetation, and a behemoth of a boulder blocking the main sight of the sunset.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

In order to clear these obstructions (blowing up the gigantic rock was absolutely out of the question for ethical, spiritual, environmental and, yes, economical reasons) the level of the chapel had to be raised at least five meters. Since only exotic and picturesque vegetation surrounds this virgin oasis, we strived to make the least possible impact on the site reducing the footprint of the building to nearly half the floor area of the upper level.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Acapulco’s hills are made up of huge granite rocks piled on top of each other. In a purely mimetic endeavor, we worked hard to make the chapel look like “just another” colossal boulder atop the mountain.

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Design: BNKR Arquitectura
Partners: Esteban Suárez (Founding Partner) y Sebastián Suárez
Project Leaders: Mario Gottfried, Javier González & Roberto Ampudia

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Project Team: Mario Gottfried, Rodrigo Gil, Roberto Ampudia, Javier González, Óscar Flores, David Sánchez, Diego Eumir, Guillermo Bastian & Adrian Aguilar
Collaborators: Jorge Arteaga y Zaida Montañana

Sunset Chapel by Bunker Arquitectura

Click for larger image

Structural Engineers: Juan Felipe Heredia & José Ignacio Báez
Lighting: Noriega Iluminadores – Ricardo Noriega
Construction: Factor Eficiencia – Fermin Espinosa & Francisco Villeda
Area: 120 m2
Status: Completed February 2011
Location: Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico

See also:


Sta Columbina Chapel by
Luis Ferreira Rodrigues
The Cross-Gate by
Ivo Pavlik
Farewell Chapel by
OFIS Arhitekti

Posted on Thursday March 3rd 2011 at 12:21 am by Catherine Warmann. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Is like a giant stone. It remembers me the mask of Darth Vader.

  • reinierdejong

    Wonderful! Very poetic. Beautiful as an object but especially how the sequence of spaces seem to be really well designed. I like the entrance as well.

  • ss_sk

    " The chapel…is reached by internal steps."

    Nothing in this world should be built with stairs only…nothing! I don't care about forms, symbolisms and stuff…

    • jql

      did u notice context? how can anyone unable to climb stairs could reach that place?

  • viiaan

    Not a peaceful space for church.

    • jql

      its a waste using it as a church…

  • tanyatelford

    arguments on religion aside (as i find them so tiresome) it looks like the architects have created a very individual special interior space using man made materials in a beautiful landscape

  • nofelix

    I have a hunch that the last photo is misleading; it seems to confirm the concept of a box that radiates light, but it is only the long exposure that produces this effect. the building has no windows to refract the light in such a manner, I think what we're actually seeing is the light reflecting off the ceiling

  • rissé

    Sweet mini Casa Da Musica

  • I think this is absolutely wonderful.

  • Pixle1

    Hauntingly miserable. What a grim internal oppressive space….

  • mik

    I think the entrance with the ugly tiny stair looks like a leftover.

    In general It just sounds too much for what is asked.

    why are people still proposing stones and ultra complex expensive shapes.
    I don't live in the same world and I don't think it's that poetic.

  • It's not that bad guys, I just don't like the quality of the concrete

  • rami matar

    wonderful space for church.

  • mikey

    too much visual confusion and overstimulation even with basic materials.

  • mik

    architects should stop looking at their own belly and start producing more quality work and not big stones or mini casa da musica or whatever the exciting fantasy they have in mind to conquer the world.
    stop it please and help saving the world

  • Bien ahi Bunker.
    Felicidades, buen proyecto. Propositivo… Siempre es bueno ver cosas distintas; le guste a muchos y a otros tantos no.

  • Dan

    God hates handicapped people.

    • jql

      thats why he created topography

  • douglas

    Utterly spectacular!

    Visual confusion? Over stimulation?

    I'd rather something that visually distorts, challenges and inspires, than a building that merely serves to endorse and legitimise creative mediocrity in designers who insist 'its all in the details, not showy features'. Who says?
    Not everyone wants a white box, with a neutral aesthetic, the product of constipated imagination.

  • edward

    Fantastico! Whatever one's reaction, it won't be blasé which is important. The cross is a letdown. Too pedestrian. Needs more thought. Something Aztec.

  • Don't rock the boat

    Feeling kind of nauseous.
    All good except that "rocking boat" feeling on the upper floor.
    And yeah, they forgot access for all

  • stinkyhouse

    Fits nicely. It seems to be on a mountain? See the steps outside just to reach the building? Not every space in the world can be accessible, were they supposed to put a 1/12 ramp outside & an elevator inside?

  • Fits wonderfully on the site. Not every space can be accessible. Should the designers have installed an elevator & an accessible ramp up the mountain?

  • Es evidente que no todos vivimos los espacios de la misma manera.
    A mi me parece un ámbito sumamente interesante, aún con cosas perfectibles como el plano de la cruz (Lo hubiera hecho ciego con pequeñas rajas y una luz puntual para ver la cara de quien de misa). Es una muestra atractiva de, las posibilidades del sistema constructivo y de lo necesario que es romper con ese grillete cultural de los espacios ortogonales.

  • Fizz

    No -sorry – THIS is a chapel:

  • I find this space to be majestic; much like the Ken Kellogg wedding chapel in Japan. As man is of and returns to the earth, this building is also. I believe a cor ten crucifix situated outside of the window which would grow more beautiful with time would be an improvement.

  • Dan

    Perhaps a little over complicated in form, and maybe the symbolism is a little obvious, but why not? From the photos, it looks stunning

    Also, a crucifix has an image or statue of Christ on it, this is just a cross

  • George

    i'm sure Jesus would like it too.