Araucana is a cultural center located in San Juan, Argentina. It is a complex for various cultural activities that also has a room for worship.
Months ago we tackled this exciting project to turn this small room into a place of meditation, in line with the modern style of the rest of the building. For this we chose light materials and a colorful altarpiece, elements that bring light to the room.
AN ORATORY INTEGRATED INTO THE ENVIRONMENT
The approach to the oratory was based on the principle of architecture as a form of integration into the environment, a rational architecture that is introduced in the oratory through the purification of lines but without renouncing to create a luminous, comfortable space that awakens devotion.
The economy of space in an oratory leads to the selection of the main elements: altar and altarpiece in the presbytery, a small ambo and a seat on each side, two tabernacle lamps and the benches for the faithful.
The project is organized around a central axis: a white marble altar with its back to the village, placed on a platform, also in marble. The altar, whose cover is divided into three small niches, is ornamented in the central hollow with the golden outline of a cross on a circumference, symbolizing the Cross of Christ embracing the world. In the upper part, it has been engraved the ejaculatory "I adore you with devotion, hidden God", taken from the translation of the Adorote devote, written by Saint Thomas Aquinas, Eucharistic hymn par excellence.
THE ALTARPIECE AND ITS SYMBOLOGY
To complete the presbytery, an artistic composition was proposed, with a figurative base, that would give color and personality to the space and that would use a modern language, without leaving tradition aside. The result was a painting, made with the technique of oil on board.
The composition represents, in the central part, the Blessed Virgin of Saint Josemaría, dressed in a white tunic and blue mantle, symbols of purity and eternity in traditional Christian iconography. She appears with the Child in her arms on a background that represents a well, which is also a symbol of Jesus Christ, living water. Although it is based on traditional lines, the realistic style of the painting makes it a close representation, with which the faithful today can identify.
On the sides, in an attitude of adoration, we find Saint Josemaría and Blessed Álvaro del Portillo and Saint Martha and Saint Mary, sisters of Lazarus, who represent, respectively, the sanctity of the contemplative life and holiness in the midst of the world. The three images are framed in gilded wood with mixed gold. Another symbolic element underlying the composition is the Holy Trinity, insinuated by the triangular arrangement.
In addition, a light wood frieze, located on the Marian blue colored wall, gathers the visitor and runs through the room to unify different formal elements such as doors and windows and bring warmth.
In the upper part, a ceiling with cross beams and volumes gives personality to the space.