072 / 2016

The Wall

Walls are built to protect – and separate.
Walls have openings – gateways linking two worlds.
Our Wall unites and gathers people together.
Our Wall curls inwards and becomes a place in itself, a wall that crafts answered prayers into infinite gateways between two worlds.


SHORTLISTED RIBA International Architecture Competition, United Kingdom, 2016


PHASE: international competition, 2016

SITE: Central-Northern England, UK

CLIENT: RIBA Competitions


ARCHITECTS: Ana Ábalos, Pablo Llopis

COLLABORATORS: María de Miguel, Laura González-Calero

Views and walkways

At a distance, the stark appearance of the high segments of our Wall in the middle of the countryside suggests a solid, strong, simple structure that will last for generations. Identical outlines constantly resculpted by ever-shifting sunlight that awaken the same heartfelt emotion as a stroll through the Roman baths of Caracalla.  Drawing closer, bands of lowly red bricks create a rhythmic shadows. Ordinary bricks combined to create something extraordinary.
Our hands caress the solid bricks whilst our eyes survey thousands of answered prayers. Reaching the hilltop, exhilarated and bursting with emotion, we look back down over a million answered prayers. An upside-down cathedral reflecting the light, God in heaven answering every prayer.
“So many answered prayers, so many bricks!” exclaim visitors in delight, insistently following the seemingly endless curves of our Wall. Secluded, sacred, shared, physical and virtual spaces, all of equal importance. A stroll accompanied by the gentle murmur of prayers said in faith. Like faith itself, our Wall has tangible and intangible elements.  Wandering deep in thought along this curled wall, visitors are moved and inspired to overcome life’s challenges.

Bricks, earth, glass

The internal structure is like that of an ancient Roman wall. The load-bearing section of each segment is an outer sheath of bricks filled with earth. One million fired bricks, one million answered prayers that encapsulate a magma of other prayers yet to be said, raising them up to God.
Materials and built structure, truth and hope. A forceful combination, requiring a small budget, able to withstand the huge effort of creating a sheer scale landmark that will last for ages.
The clear window panes stacked up that crown this wall of men, recall the Holy City of Jerusalem “coming down out of heaven from God, arrayed with God’s glory. Her radiance was like a very precious stone, like a jasper stone, bright as crystal” (Rev. 21: 10-11).

Tags and prayers

Prayers are grouped together by subject on the different segments of the wall. Each prayer is tagged using two simple coordinates to enable them to be located easily on site, e.g. health 42:15-34 (wall section 42, row 15, column 34), just as books, chapters and verses can be used to find advice in the Scriptures.
One highlight of wandering physically or virtually around the Wall is the inspiration stemming from unexpected finds, similar prayers or surprising connections.
The legacy and story of each prayer could be seen on the physical Wall with their full weight, significance and diversity.

Each prayer is different.
Each story is different.
Each brick is different – but made of the same dust of ground and beneath the same light.
Matter transformed into a monument by the worth of prayer.