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Photo by I-NOMA


Emmanuel Garcia


Chapel of St Joseph at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe

1170 N. River Rd, Des Plaines, IL 60016

December 2018

The Chapel of St. Joseph transformed a 1937 gymnasium into the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s first climate-controlled, sacred space, designed to serve over 6,000 weekly worshippers and over 300,000 pilgrims during the annual Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebration in December. The project recalls traditional basilica forms and reused over 75% of the existing structure. A new glass and steel modern addition to the north inflects toward the Shrine and provides a fully accessible entry.

About Emmanuel Garcia

Manny enjoys creating spaces that highlight communal spirit and bold visions. His experience includes: the Purple Llama Coffee & Record Shop, schematic design for a blended learning charter school in Los Angeles, renovations of Chicago Public School classrooms, and the Chapel of St Joseph at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, IL. He currently serves as Communications Chair and Chicago Architecture Biennial Chair for Arquitectos, The Society of Hispanic Professional Architects.

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?

I first experienced architecture helping family members with home remodeling projects. The renovation of our own house was what really sparked my interest. Raising the roof and moving a few walls had a huge positive impact on our lives.

What do you do?

I help clients physically manifest their visions for their future. I ensure that their needs and wants are transformed into plans and renderings that are then transformed into a physical space that fits within their project constraints.

What excites you in the work you do?

One of my favorite moments in a project is when a client is finally able to connect their bold visions with the drawings we present and call it “their” building, “their” space. It’s the very beginning of another successful project delivery.

Who or what inspires you professionally?

I’m inspired most by those who are willing to see past small differences in order to find innovative common ground. I say innovative because I believe that we are at our most brilliant when we challenge ourselves to do better.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

The Dedication Service for the Chapel of St Joseph was one of a kind. The project was truly community led and to experience the congregation’s joyful celebration in their new space was one of the most moving moments of my entire life.

SAY IT LOUD - Illinois People's Choice Winner

Chapel of St. Joseph at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe


Photo by Tom Harris Architectural Photography


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