Architecture for culture

Santpedor, Barcelona

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Auditorium in the convent of Sant Francesc

David Closes, arquitecto

Description Technical file

This architectural intervention sought to preserve the historic legacy of the remains of the old convent, adding new values to it that both enhance it and set it apart through the insertion of contemporary shapes.

The convent of Sant Francesc, located in the town of Santpedor near the city of Manresa, was built in the 18th century by the monks of the Franciscan order. The year 1835, the date on which the convent was sacked, saw the start of a gradual process of abandonment and deterioration of the building, which culminated in the demolition of the complex in the year 2000. The church and part of the convent’s perimeter wall were the only parts left standing, though in poor condition.

In the year 2003, when the project for recovering and refurbishing it was drawn up, the church, with a very modest constructional quality even in its origins, was in a state of ruin. Its roofs had collapsed, the choir had disappeared, the vaults of the nave and its chapels had partially fallen down and its load bearing capacity was nil.

However, the church interior, despite its state of ruin, presented especially remarkable proportions and qualities, particularly as thanks to the roof having collapsed it was surprisingly enhanced by the new, unforeseen and considerable inflows of natural light.

The project’s objective was to transform the church into an auditorium and a cultural facility. The architectural strategy behind this action has sought, right from the start, the final objective of consolidating the church without having to entirely erase the process of deterioration and collapse that the building had suffered; the final result thus allows us to read the most relevant historical wounds and spatial typological values of the building without renouncing the use of a contemporary language in the new elements that have arisen as a consequence of the intervention.

The new volumes required for the proper running of the new facility, installation rooms or vertical accesses have been situated in such a way as to bridge the interior and exterior space of the building in order to preserve the unitary space of the church’s central nave. The new accesses have been built so as to enhance a complete circular route through the building, generating unique and attractive views.

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Emplazamiento: Santpedor. Barcelona. Autor: David Closes, arquitecto. Promotor: Ayuntamiento de Santpedor. Colaboradores del proyecto: Dídac Dalmau (arquitecto técnico), BOMA (estructura), Toni Vila (Ingeniero de instalaciones). Constructor: Construccions F. Vidal / CIOSA (GrupSoler). Fotografía: Jordi Surroca.
David Closes

Jordi Surroca