Last Sunday, November 13, Cardinal Carlos Osoro blessed this work during the inauguration of the chapel in the Almudena Cathedral.
The chapel, designed by the architectural firm Cano y Escario, uses wood as the basis of the project in reference to St. John Paul II’s love for nature and the mountains. The architects relied months ago on our team of technicians and wood professionals for the development of constructive solutions, manufacture and assembly of the entire carpentry structure.
Cedrela odorata cedar, the species chosen by our team, is undoubtedly the main element of the chapel. It has managed to envelop with its texture and smell this space of prayer and penitence.
Grupo Gubia and the cedar wood structure
Fifty cedar wood porticos make up the space, each with different heights and geometries, ranging from 6 to 13 meters high. More than 1250ml of wood carved in squares placed with a separation of 150 mm between axes, reveal the original stone of the chapel.
“For almost three months, the studio tables have been full of production plans, details of meetings, wood cuttings…. And our workshop was impregnated with that particular smell of cedar that today envelops this space dedicated to Saint John Paul II in the Almudena Cathedral,” says Verónica Sancho, chief architect of the technical department of Grupo GUBIA.
Singular cedar wood elements
The lower part of some of the wooden porticoes are broken to form geometric figures reminiscent of a grove of trees. This creates niches that house backlit images with scenes from the life of St. John Paul II. Four of the porticoes are mechanized along their entire length to embed LED strips, which create different lighting scenes within the space.
Located at the far end, the chapel features a confessional made from the same cedar slatted structure, giving it its penitential character.
A new experience built with wood
In terms of scale, wich represents in a spiritual level and its unique location in the Almudena Cathedral have meant a new experience for the entire Grupo GUBIA team. The wooden pieces, carefully carved, have been assembled in the workshop with great care.
“The pre-assembly in the workshop of this cedar wood macro-structure has made it possible to avoid problems and improvisations on site. This has minimized assembly times, finishing the work even a week in advance,” says Pepe Castro, production manager.
It is undoubtedly one of the most gratifying wood architecture projects in which we have participated, and the result is clear to see.
You can see more images of the inauguration here.