Juanacatlán is a town located in the municipality of Tapalpa, Jalisco, Mexico. The community faces various social, environmental and economic challenges, but their faith and religious beliefs play a fundamental role as one of the pillars that keep the community united and waiting for a positive change to improve their quality of life.

Project Name: Arco 17
Studio Name: heroa
Year: 2023
Area: 15 m2
Location: Juanacatlán (Tapalpa), Jalisco, México
Photography credits: Pablo Fernández del Valle

Arco 17 by heroarq-Sheet1
©Pablo Fernández del Valle

The Virgen de la Defensa is such spiritual representation that becomes a vital part of their essence and potential; therefore, it is the main theme and motivation behind the project. The objective was to develop the proposal, through a process of co-creation, in which the community participated from the social sense and the parish with a religious approach, resulting in an architectural space that honors and celebrates the spirituality of the site.

Arco 17 by heroarq-Sheet2
©Pablo Fernández del Valle

Inspired by one of the most important religious and architectural symbols of the town, the Arco de Juanacatalán, the entrance to the town, we began with the development of the Arco 17, which marks the entrance to the Chapel of Señor San José. Dignifying then the space of encounter between the community and religion; since it is the entrance through which the Virgen de la Defensa arrives during the pilgrimage route and highlights the spiritual hierarchy of the place and the importance of this event.

Arco 17 by heroarq-Sheet5
©Pablo Fernández del Valle
Arco 17 by heroarq-Sheet8
©Pablo Fernández del Valle

The work is structurally convenient for the context, due to its self-supporting design. The arch is divided into a series of modules, where a series of “H” shaped wooden beams are assembled. The structure is resolved with the same weight, given that it is supported piece by piece without the need for joints between the elements. This results in a practical and efficient way of construction and assembly.

Arco 17 by heroarq-Sheet9
©Pablo Fernández del Valle

The materiality contextualizes the project with the use of local pine wood and gives shape to a visually light structure that is a reference of the cultural identity of the site. In this way, the project is integrated into the environment and dialogues with the existing, creating a conscious relationship with the spatial sense determined by the community and religious dynamics.


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