Designer: Christ & Gantenbein
Location: Cerro Del Obispo, Mexico
Monoliths are fictional structures built by an unseen alein species that appear in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey novels.During the series, these monoliths are discovered by humans and the subsequent response of the characters, to their discovery, influences the plot, particularly by encouraging humankind to progress with technoligical development and space travel.
Cerro Del Obispo is a lookout point monolith built by Christ & Gantenbein. They have created a concrete column, which serves as one of 9 landmarks (the other 8 of which were designed by other architects) found along a 177 km pilgrimage trail through Jalisco, Mexico. The tourism office of Mexico comisioned these designers to build structures to mark each spot’s religious significance. Nearly two million people take part in this pilgrimage annually. The Cerro Del Obispo Column, the last of the nine landmarks, is a shrine to the holy virgin of Talpa, where the pilgrimage ends.
The Monolith rises almost 27 meters high and is made with grey, curved, concrete which is meant to contrast the dry wooded mountainous ranges on which it lies upon. Visitors can enter through a tiny door to experience a contorted view of the sky above.
Architect Emanual Christ says, ‘The fascinating thing about this project for us is its almost archaic character: an architectural object that has the only purpose to mark a special spot in the landscape and to give people a different, a new view on their surroundings”.
In the Space Odyssey series, The first monolith appears in a set in during prehistoric human times. It is discovered by a group of apes, and the monolith somehow triggers a considerable shift in evolution upon arrival. I would like to think minimalistic industrial design, such as the one realized by Christ & Gantenbein, will help do the same for the evolution in modern architecture.