Christ & Gantenbein: Pilgersäule, Ruta del Peregrino, Mexiko - best architects 14

Christ & Gantenbein

Pilgersäule, Ruta del Peregrino, Mexiko

best architects 14

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Iwan Baan


The pilgrim’s column perched atop the almost 2,000-metre-high mountain Cerro del Obispo on the Ruta del Peregrino pilgrimage route in Mexico creates a landmark visible far and wide for those approaching the area. It towers up over the forest landscape like a large bone. A free-standing, organically shaped monolithic concrete wall forms the 26.55-metre-high tower, accessed via a small entrance on one side. Inside, visitors encounter a powerful, almost transcendental space with a stunningly framed view of the sky overhead. Sunlight cascades down through this opening and glints off the light-coloured concrete walls before pooling on the ground. The column thus sets the stage for a personal spiritual experience evoked by a direct physical encounter with the space. At the same time, it serves during the pilgrimage months, when a kind of temporary settlement of huts and tents rises up around it, as a focal point for the very lively, collective experience of the pilgrimage.