As an interior designer I have so much respect for architectural design talent. It's not everyday that you meet incredible visionaries - take David Closes Architects (DCA) for example. The Spanish firm, who recently completed an "intervention" of an early 18th century Catholic convent has a knack for contemporary restoration and an eye for maintaining and respecting age-old architecture while incorporating modern amenities, to say the least.
The Sant Francesc convent, located in the small Catalan town of Santpedor, was built in the early 18th century by Franciscan priests. In 1835 the convent was sacked. Thereafter began the process of progressive deterioration of the building that ended with its demolition in 2000. Only the church remained standing, but in a completely ruinous state.
That's where DCA comes in...
The firm took this old, seemingly dilapidated architectural landmark and updated the space to serve as a community auditorium and multifunctional cultural facility. All the while preserving much of the building's original architectural elements.
The project has maintained the dimensions of the church interior space and, also, the unusual entries of natural light produced by partial roof collapses. Rather than reconstructing the church, the intervention has just consolidated the old fabric distinguishing clearly the new elements executed from the original ones. The renovation carried out allows to read historical wounds and the building's most important spatial values without giving up the use of contemporary language in the new elements introduced in the intervention.
Now, not only does this quaint Spanish town have a place that is both useful and functional, but a prized architectural masterpiece - a space that I believe may go down in history as a one of the more beautifully renovated spaces in the 21st century.
Take a look at the newly renovated space - minimal, reverent and elegant.
The Reconversion of Sant Francesc Convent
Future Restoration Plans
In the future, a final phase will complete the project by placing a historical archive on the upper floors of the south side of the church.