Santa Maria del Mar is one of the oldest virgin avocations. She isn’t related to any apparition; instead she relates with the need that marines and their families who stay on land feel for having the highest protection from heaven. Stella Maris, Star of the Sea is how they call her since ancient times.

Cancun, Sun and Beach. Cancun is a city of sun, beach and tourism. The architectural project though of religious character must respond to these 3 key elements and their correspondent transcendence. The city owes its foundation to the Caribbean architecture, composed of: open and green spaces, latticeworks, etc. which provides natural comfort to the user.

Esthetic and Harmonic Beauty. When designing a basilica one must offer an official religious public building for the liturgical celebration and the adoration of the lord, a sacred space that provides purity, protection and serenity which by tradition is achieved by a standard of identity, top esthetic beauty, symmetry and proportion.

The Sea as Identity. Inspiration for the concept comes from the strength and softness of the Caribbean ocean waves and the white sand of its beach. The rhythm of the ocean and the sensation of peace and harmony serve as design principles to provide a unique identity with a strong relation to the region and the project site.

The Mantle as Inspiration. The project is composed of a big public-religious (Catholic) space that can receive hundreds of people for mass inside a space of purity that radiates protection, harmony, softness and peace, all this simulating the protecting mantle of Santa Maria del Mar as maternal inspiration.

Integration to the Public Space. The project is located in a new public sector of recreation in front of the Nichupte lagoon. The project must integrate, relate and complement the public space throughout a strong pedestrian connection with the new walkways, generating a plaza with green areas that invite the user to enter to the religious center.

For a functional, bioclimatic, emblematic and urban project. The virgin's mantle inspires the project's form as a maternal protection symbol. The ocean waves underline the roof's silhouette in search for rhythm, harmony and balance. The perfection and balance of marine life also serves as inspiration in the design line.

Religious architecture is the reflection and evidence of culture through time. Religious-Cultural Walkways. Historic Exterior Walkway: The project's façade functions as an exterior museum; it has a timeline board with the history of American evangelization. Virgin Mary Walkway: The patios and public areas house the Virgin Mary walkway which surrounds the main nave through fountains, discovering the 20 mysteries.  Religious Tourism: Cultural Attractive.

Minimizing Environmental Impact. The project counts with bioclimatic strategies to achieve an adequate comfort using natural renewable energy; this includes natural cross ventilation, solar protection and thermal isolation. Because of its bioclimatic design oriented to energy savings it avoids the use of mechanical cooling equipment that would imply excessive consumption of energy without even taking into account if the basilica were at its maximum or minimum capacity; By these means the environmental impact and the carbon footprint are reduced. The design responds to a correct and constant flow of ventilation, favoring the pressure difference that generates wind movement throughout all the spaces.

Structural System, Based in Traditional Arches. The structural concept is based on the traditional arches system that has been used in churches for centuries. This system transfers the loads from the roof to the foundations through elements that create big open spaces.

The project is solved with a mixed structural system. The foundation is solved by reinforced concrete pilings which will transfer loads to the rocky subsoil in accordance to soil mechanics studies in depth, capacity and load.

The parking slab that serves as the nave's and plaza's floor is a lightweight reinforced concrete grid slab supported by reinforced concrete columns. The lateral structures are made up of two levels of one-way joist and joist filler block slabs supported by reinforced concrete frames.

The main structure is supported by six multiple rigid arches made up of steel trusses with welded box profiles. The roof has a complex form that responds in a dynamic way to the wind's action, therefore it's solved by a three-dimensional truss of structural steel profiles covered with double-sheeted aluminum panels with low-density thermoplastic polyurethane core which has thermal isolation properties.

The roof's surface must allow for an adequate preventive and corrective maintenance without compromising the structure's integrity both for vibrations as for highly humid and saline weather conditions.

Low Cost Maintenance. Pavement: Regional rock floors or stone quarry for exteriors and porcelain floor tiles for interiors. Facades: Tempered glass, block walls and paint. Lining: PVC faux wood stave or aluminum faux wood and thermal isolation multipanel deck.

Low Cost Use. Electrical Installation: micro-turbine energy cogeneration capstone system, 3 pieces of equipment 65 KW each; synchronism and parallelism electric board of simultaneous consumption and low-consumption LED based illumination.  Air Conditioning: Partial, only Museum-Cafeteria and services buildings, 2 chillers 100 Ton each, located on basement. The residual heat produced by the micro-turbines is used for its function.   Pluvial Installation: Rainwater will be collected and storage for irrigation.


• 2nd Place, Competition by Invitation - Malecon Tajamar, Cancun, México.

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