MONTERREY – The southern district of the third larget city in Mexico is expanding. In a development 15 km south of the city’s main plaza – alongside 80,000 sqm of commercial premises and nearly 1000 Zaha-Hadid designed apartments – the newest parish church (El Señor de la Misericordia – The Lord of Mercy) can be found, recently completed by Moneo Brock. Despite being one of the country’s ‘most Americanized cities’, the widespread suburbs outside of Monterrey’s metropolitan centre are surrounded by a luscious landscape of mountains and valleys. It is this picturesque setting that forms the backdrop for the sculptural form of the church.
The project has the appearance of multiple volumes merged together; a collection of protrusions like blunted shards capped with glazed skylights, which allow light to permeate the interior. The sleek, white bell tower stands the tallest of these at 43 m, acting as a point of reference for the community and providing one of the most obvious comparisons with the design of a traditional church. Internally, the large cross-shaped window at the head of the 350-capacity church glows with natural light in a similar way to that of Tadao Ando’s 1989 Church of Light in Osaka, Japan.
‘While the project’s character is undoubtedly contemporary, its volumetric concept was derived from traditional church plans,’ explains the architect. ‘The design presents familiar architectural features taken from Christian temple prototypes, such as the bell tower, the stained-glass windows, the courtyard and the wooden pews’ – all features that have been custom designed by the firm. ‘In this way, the proposal provides an architecture that it both recognizable and new.’
Plan – Ground floor