Wednesday, February 26, 2014
A GLIMPSE OF HEAVEN IN TLALPAN
I can't recall a previous opportunity to use the words 'sublime' and 'divine' in the same sentence without seeming ridiculous. But today, after visiting the Capilla de las Capuchinas by renowned Mexican architect Luis Barragán, I have it.
When the door to the chapel was opened, my eyes welled up with tears. This is something that has happened to me with other art forms, but never architecture. The space Barragán created has a sublime beauty that suggests a divine presence. A few tears and a dropped jaw seemed the only possible responses.
What Barragán has created is an intimate theater for prayer. His clear visual poetry is filled with optimism for a world beyond our own that might really exist. The architect's trademarks are all here: contrast of low, shadowy spaces with high, bright ones; the use of reflected light to create Rothko-like colors (the chapel glows with a light that simultaneoulsy suggests both sunrise and sunset); the sensitive mix of natural materials. "Even the temperature of a room was important to him," the young nun who guided us said, as we stood in the small, dark, chilly anteroom of the chapel.
The chapel is located at Miguel Hidalgo 43, just a few blocks from the main plaza of Tlalpan.
Click HERE for map link. There's a metrobus stop (Insurgentes Linea 1, 'Fuentes Brotantes')
within walking distance. If you drive, there is a public parking lot at the corner of the plaza along Miguel Hidalgo.
You must call and make an appointment to visit the chapel--open weekdays only.
Telephone (55) 5573-2395.
Donation 60 pesos.
Beyond the chapel, Tlalpan centro is worth a visit for its charming main plaza, the bustling market (eat HERE), and a cultural center with art exhibits (sometimes). It's a bit like Coyoacán or San Ángel, but smaller and less crowded. Even though you are within the limits of the Distrito Federal, you'll feel like you're in a small provincial town.