• Malabo Basilica / Saraiva-Associados

Architects: Saraivae Associados  
Location: Malabo  Equatorial Guinea
Interior Décor: Saraiva-Associados
Project Year: 2015
Photographer: Saraiva-Associados
Website: www.saraivaeassociados.com

The project for Malabo Basilica conveys values ​​such as strength, serenity, austerity and tranquility. The rectangular shaped building emerges from the ground, forming a semi-arch and rises 40 m height, culminating with a zenith opening above the altar. The Basilica can receive until 1,000 people, includes multipurpose rooms for educational activities and diocese services and a priest residence.

From the Project Architects:
The present Design Concept refers to the Preliminary Study of the architecture project on the design of the Basilica of Malabo, capital of Equatorial Guinea. 
An exceptional building, its drawings are based on the interpretation of cultural values, which distinguish the country from others. Hence, the target of this building is to affirm its presence as an iconic architectonic object which also contributes to the national identity. 


Having the defined program as starting point, the achievement of this principle put forward an equipment proposal, which is contained, minimal, strong yet structured for public recreation in order to create and reinterpret original elements from the Guinean culture. Durability, strength, serenity, austerity, tranquility and peace are the driving values in the conceptual development of the current proposal. Besides the identification of the main functionality of the building, the intention is to create a religious space, which transmits to its users a feeling of safeness, shelter and home – of God. 
The present proposal of this relevant building looks for the creation of a sacred space which promotes reflection, introspection, meditation and proximity between the profane and holy world. 

For these reason, the Basilica of Malabo sprouts up from the earth. It evolves from an arc-shaped profile, seeking for the divine through an elevation of 40-meter height by culminating with a zenith opening right above the Altar. 
In addition, the Basilica of Malabo presents a rectangular shape plan – it extends from the interior to the exterior space from the two existent lateral aisles, which delimit, embrace and shelters a Square (a place for community reunion and encounters). 


The approach from east does not only allow the building to sprout from earth as also people are invited to descend a smooth slope, which puts them in the condition of mortal sinners, and from there the access to the Square embraced by the lateral aisles of the Basilica. The sacred space, as we recognize it, is located on an elevated promontory. This place is reached from a long staircase that links the borderline Square with the churchyard. 


Following this pace, after descending to the mortal sinner condition, the encounter space and the slow rise towards the churchyard, it is compulsory to stop in order to prepare ourselves to enter the sacred space. 
The established programme for the present building corresponds to an equipment of religious character. It has a maximum capacity of 1000 people being complemented with multipurpose-rooms destined for formation, catechism and other pedagogic activities, services especially destined for the diocese, and the Parson’s residence. 
The shell that covers the yard does not only offer protection (against the Sun and Rain), as also proposes a tension space (which pronounces and prepares the entry in the temple). A long-lasting feeling due to the curvature of the structure that grows gradually in height as it approaches the Prebestery and the Altar. 

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