Church of the Nativity International Design Competition Finalist
La Primavera, Culiacan – Sinaloa, Mexico
The Church of the Nativity finds its place in a natural refuge within an exposed landscape. Its rough outer shell protects a smooth inner shell, expressing the experience of shelter Mary and Joseph found in the stable in Bethlehem. The design builds on local materials, sky and light to express La Primavera’s connection to a broader world and its infinite aspirations. We drew upon the local retaining stone walls of varied colors and geometries, the hilled characteristics of the site, and local religious observances to connect this church to its specific place. We embraced the contrasts of the stones against the whitewashed stucco as the perfect complement to the crisp blues and brilliant oranges of Culiacan’s skies. The angular geometry of the dry stone walls of the landscape and crypt walls continue upwards as formwork for the exterior concrete shell, where the gaps between the stones become glazed slots to allow sunlight in during the day and light out at night. The interior and exterior shells are structurally integrated but functionally distinct. The exterior shields the church from the elements, while the polished interior defines the space of communion.