MasterplanTatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO / Dellekamp ArquitectosA pilgrimage is an important moment in a person's spiritual life. Traditionally it is a journey of moral or religious significance and though its origins may be traced back for centuries, in some places it is still a living practice. When a pilgrim, out of an act of devotion or expiation, either individually or in company, undertakes a multi-day journey by foot, he or she is hoping to receive something in exchange, to pay or deserve the favor of the divine.Every year, close to three million people trek from Ameca to Talpa de Allende to visit the site where the Virgin is said to have appeared. The project of the Pilgrim's Route began with an invitation from Jalisco's Secretary of Culture to upgrade the original path with essential services and monumental spaces that would enrich the spiritual experience of the pilgrims, and to offer a series of symbolic lookout points that would engage in a dialogue with the landscape.We teamed up with Derek Dellekamp to develop the master plan, and invited eight other design practices from around the world to contribute: HHF, Christ & Gantenbein, Ai Weiwei, Elemental, Luis Aldrete, Emiliano Godoy, and Rozana Montiel. Each would create a distinct type of space to delineate the route and offer a different interpretation of its meaning.After completion, and upon visiting the project for the first time, the most surprising thing was listening to the frequent visitors' reactions and stories. From these chats, it became clear that the interventions and formal morphologies were not what they cared about the most: the pilgrims felt that the true victory was, after years of being asked to help, the government had actually listened.As architects this surprised us; having studied the site, its people, and their edifications and culture so extensively, we had not attained the level of local knowledge we believed we had. Instead, we became cognizant of how removed we were, and in the end, we accepted that it was better to understand and make clear that, in a certain sense, we were foreign agents inserting works on the path that could, nonetheless, establish a dialogue between the people and the government, the individual and the collective, and a place where history is not only told but manifested. By adding different layers of meaning that combine with and transpose one another, it is possible to participate in something even more universal than religion: the experience of faithGratitude Open ChapelTatiana Bilbao ESTUDIO / Dellekamp ArquitectosThe Open Chapel of Gratitude is located at the pilgrimage route's beginning. From Cerro del Obispo, the chapel can be seen contrasting with the sky. Designed in collaboration with Derek Dellekamp, it is part of a cultural and tourist-religious itinerary. A slope leads to the Wall of Promises, where pilgrims declare their personal quests and the purpose of their expedition. Upon entering this symbolic space of gratitude and personal reflection, they encounter a complex composed of four white concrete walls. These walls symbolically represent a traditional Catholic temple. The chapel harnesses the natural surroundings and the imposing presence of these four stone elements to evoke the desired mysticism. Upon entering the space, one perceives a completely different environment, where light and nature are fragmented into four parts, mirroring the temple itself. Pilgrims find themselves surrounded by opaque and nature-light stripes, creating a mystical experience.Mesa Colorada HermitageTatiana Bilbao ESTUDIOThe Mesa Colorada Hermitage, the first hermitage on the route. Pilgrims arrive at this point during the second day of their journey, venturing into the forest and ascending to a ridge of reddish earth. Two walls, seemingly integrated into the landscape, guide pilgrims through a labyrinthine path to the center, where the walls open up and reveal a view of the sky. These intertwined walls create a shaded space, isolated from the outside world and directed toward the sky. This environment provides an ideal setting for meditation, prayer, and rest before the journey continues in the opposite direction toward Talpa.