High Altar Zacatecas Cathedral High Altarpiece and Ceremonial Space by Claudio & Christian Gantous

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DESIGN DETAILS
DESIGN NAME:
High Altar Zacatecas Cathedral

PRIMARY FUNCTION:
High Altarpiece and Ceremonial Space

INSPIRATION:
contemporary architecture as transcendent spirit

UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Gantous Arquitectos and world-renowned sculptor Javier Marín collaborated on the design and construction of Zacatecas’s cathedral high altarpiece and worship space to create an optimal dialogue between the church’s magnificent eighteenth-century baroque façade and its severe, neoclassical interior. In support of Marín’s bronze sculpture, GA designed a gilt wood altarpiece composed of geometric prisms that rise from the presbytery’s most elevated platform and grow ever lighter as they ascend, referencing the piece’s dedication to the Virgin of the Assumption. At its base stands a bronze cross and twelve canons’ thrones, each crowned with a bronze representing its respective apostle’s martyrdom. GA’s intervention—the quintessence of pure, luminous beauty—is ultimately is the unifying thread between the baroque, the neoclassical and the modern, at once infinitely complex and prismatically simple.

OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The end users' interaction with the high altarpiece and worship space is one of reverence and introspection by the experience of sacred space. The High Altarpiece is the main focal point of the Cathedral's interior and frames the ceremonial proceedings organized as a sequence of rituals of faith that flow through well differentiated positions around the worship space designed in the shape of a greek cross.

PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project was designed in Mexico city during the period of June to November 2009. Construction took place in Zacatecas beginning in January and completed by the end of June 2010.

PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The main body of the High Altarpiece was developed as a stacking system of 30cm x 30cm prisms of variable heights originated from a 210cm module. The 514 prisms constitute a wall screen 11m wide and 16.5m tall. They were made of Finnish birch wood laminate in order to guarantee durability and stability. The finish is 24 karat gold leaf applied with traditional methodology . The gold was extracted from the Peñasquito en Mazapíl , Zacatecas mine and sent to Germany to be laminated. The wallscreen of wooden prisms that receive the Saints' and Virgin bronze sculptures is supported by a metallic structure that is anchored to a concrete foundation 4.50m in depth and covering the whole area of the worship space. This space is covered in its entirety in European Oak 30cm x 5m oil finish wood planks. 4 bronze plaques created by the sculptor were placed embedded in the wood floor at the sides of the altar in the shape of a cross representing the head, hands and feet; symbols of Christ's passion. The altar is made of a 3.1m x 1m x 10cm slab of red marble supported by a pair of bronze angel wings. The 12 chorus chairs are built in Oak wood and each is crowned with a sculpted bronze cube that alludes to the martyrdom of the 12 apostles. The lectern and podium are made of Oak wood with inlaid bronze details.

SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
The 10 meter wide by 16.7 meter high altarpiece is composed of geometric prisms rising from the most elevated platform of the presbytery. Covered in 24-carat gold-leaf, the smooth surface of the prisms creates a play of light and depth as well as forming a dramatic backdrop for the nine exquisitely sculptured bronze saints which it supports. A metallic structure holds the 514 prisms built with Finnish Birch plywood, measuring 30cm by 30cm and varying in height up to 210cm. The elevated presbytery is designed in the shape of a Greek Cross. At the foot of the high altarpiece stands a bronze cross and the twelve Canon’s seats, each crowned with a bronze symbol representing the martyrdom of the twelve apostles. These are flanked by two sculptures of local Saints, while the altar itself stands in the centre of the presbytery, directly beneath the cupola of the cathedral and comprises two sets of bronze wings supporting a slab of red marble.

TAGS:
High Altarpiece, Ceremonial Space, Presbytery, Zacatecas Cathedral

RESEARCH ABSTRACT:
-

CHALLENGE:
-

ADDED DATE:
2014-09-30 13:30:58

TEAM MEMBERS (9) :
Architect: Claudio Gantous, Architect: Christian Gantous, Sculptor: Javier Marin , , David Mayen, Denice Meza, Humberto Picones, Jose Luis Gutierrez and Miguel Vives

IMAGE CREDITS:
Image #1: Photographer Erick Verdier, High Altarpiece 2010
Image #2: Photographer Erick Verdier, general view 2010
Image #3: Photographer Erick Verdier, side view 2010
Image #4: Photographer Erick Verdier, detail 1 2010
Image #5: Photographer Erick Verdier, detail 2 2010

Visit the following page to learn more: http://www.gantousarquitectos.com
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CLIENT/STUDIO/BRAND DETAILS
NAME:
Secretaría de Turismo del Estado de Zacatecas

PROFILE:
-

NOMINATION DETAILS

High Altar Zacatecas Cathedral High Altarpiece and Ceremonial Space by Claudio & Christian Gantous is a Nominee in Cultural Heritage and Culture Industry Design Category.

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AWARD DETAILS

High Altar Zacatecas Cathedral High Altarpiece and Ceremonial Space by Claudio & Christian Gantous is Winner in Cultural Heritage and Culture Industry Design Category, 2014 - 2015.



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