Our Lady of Guadalupe Church had no specific facility to use as its own building. The church was energetic and active with a large role in the community and sought a new pilgrimage church for its parish as a space of its own to dedicate to its services and outreach programs. Program requirements for the project included provision for a weekly service of 500 worshippers for the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church; occasional gatherings of +/- 1000 people; provision for outdoor devotions; cooking and eating facilities; meeting and class rooms; administrative offices; an apartment for visiting pastors; rest room facilities for the worshippers and campers; and parking systems. The site for the church is extremely rural, reached by a small, local road on a flat, Midwestern plain.
The resulting design accounted for all program needs and added a small, rammed-earth berm giving an exaggerated impression of depth and height. This move served to accentuate the church’s visibility from the road and the feeling of natural awe – gazing over a long plain from a raised position. The building is composed of a concrete web structural floor and roof with infill glass, folded perforated steel and glass ramps and chapel wall, and earth and grass berms.