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Crumbling Church's Glassy Addition Displays its 'Wounds'

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The dilapidated religious complex of Sant Francesc in Santpedor, Spain was in such bad shape that in 2000 the site's convent was demolished by the state, with only a modest church left standing. The roof of the remaining structure, which was built by Franciscan monks between 1721 and 1729, had fallen in, and the vaults of the chapel and the nave had sunk. By the time the Spanish architect David Closes began work on it, the ceiling of the church has crumbled so much that the building's arresting interior was flooded with natural light, an unintentional improvement that the architect decided to model his renovation around. The complicated reconstruction of the fragile early 18th-century church, along with a new glass addition and a major renovation of the interiors, took seven years.

Closes added a pair of skylights, and windows were created from holes and collapsed parts of the building. The architect wanted to keep the church's "historical wounds" on display. "Rather than reconstructing the church, the intervention consolidated the old fabric" and "clearly distinguished the new elements from the original ones," he writes. Contrasting mightily with the old stones, a dramatic glass addition was attached to the exterior of the building, so as not to interrupt the spatial qualities of the nearly three-century-old chapel.

The updated building is now used as a cultural center and auditorium. "The intervention preserves the historical heritage of the building and simultaneously adds new values which highlight and singularize the ancient church in a contemporary way," the architect explains. Photos, below:

· Ruins of Crumbling Church Salvaged with Geometric Addition [Web Urbanist]
· All Houses of the Holy posts [Curbed National]
· All Renovations posts [Curbed National]