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Paróquia Sagrada Família

ARQBR Arquitetura e Urbanismo

Brasília, Federal District, Brazil



Eder Rodrigues de Alencar (Architect)



Mitra Arquidiocesana de Brasília


Joana de Alcântara e França


With an arrangement that reinvents the spatial experience of the holiness, the religious building has its own distinctive identity, offering two fundamental premises: the sense of community and the nature. The Church of the Holy Family building itself projects out towards the highway, the first and oldest access to Brasília. The Parkway, inspired by the Olmsted and Vaux parkways, was configured, therefore, as an entry portal to the capital designed by Lucio Costa in 1956. The approach form originated from the idea of pathways crossroads, one pedestrian path leads to the circular temple and the other one crosses the Community Pavillion to connect to the only existing building, the current parish hall. The architectural composition of basic geometric form lands on the ground delicately on the grosanund and offers glimpses of the landscape beyond the collective spaces and outdoor natural garden. The open spaces generates a harmonious relationship with the still preserved landscape of the cerrado and which dialogues deeply with the relevance and topography of large platforms characteristic of the Central Plateau. The reinvented landscape creates new perspectives: when seeing the circular volume of the church in contrast to the longitudinally shaped pavilion, the horizon and the breadth of the sky. But it will be precisely the light environment in the sanctuary that will redefine the sense of sacredness, by highlighting the details of natural luminance, the proximity to untouched nature and an aesthetic continuum between inhabited spaces, free spaces and paths spread across horizons that are always unobstructed.


The set of buildings can be viewed as sculptural volumes that has grown within the site, embedded within the context in order to unfold at once spirituality, nature and community. The community engagement under the leadership of the priest, from choosing the project design proposal to implementation, made the collective areas inclusive for vulnerable communities. The open spaces themselves showcases the transitional nature of public space and the importance of connecting the temple to social and cultural activities. The entrance of the circular Temple opens onto the Bell Tower Square in order to create a new focal point for the complex with a mix of programs, including a large flexible event space and meeting spaces of multiple scales to activate a new range of programmatic possibilities. In the interior, natural light crosses the circular ring of the roof longitudinally and transforms smoothly the spatiality. The Temple’s vision for the landscape amplifies its spiritual values through a small opening 1.50m from the ground floor. Such a view is created by the suspended circular volume structured by six hidden pillars. By revealing the presence of the horizon, unlike the Gothic religious spatiality marked by the verticality, light becomes an integrating element between interior and exterior, an opening to the poetic dimension of the world, intertwining the material reality of the nature of the cerrado with the gaze of the assembly in introspection.


Three key concepts in its project exceeds modeling and appears as unexpected features: the unity character of the landscape and architectural site written in the topography; the benefits of sustainability regarding the use of ventilation and natural lighting; and third, the daily experience and, therefore, the encounter between the community and the sacred. The Bell Tower Square once appropriate is a living space facing the city, which acts as support for the erratic journey for the road traveler, in search of suspension of everyday life or a refuge from the torments of one's own life. The northeast-southwest pathway preserves the contemplative view: the horizon line intervals with the vertical volume of the bell tower signaling and guiding the visitor or those who pass at great speed from a distance on the Parkway. These areas are play host to a unique interplay of interior and exterior space through horizontal voids, culminating in an exceptional experience. The sustainability aspect is innovative, natural lighting and ventilation are a fundamental issue, particularly in the temple, where there is constant air renewal and adequate natural light during the day. The building seeks combines multiple elements of design in response to the context and use, to create a spatial experience complemented by materiality and lighting as the gesture approaching the church presbytery and the assembly in a circular temple. By appropriating the design process of construction a site, the people perceive the designed landscape as a place of collective identity and of social significance.

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