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Convent de Sant Francesc

The intervention in the church of the convent of Sant Francesc aimed to convert the building into a cultural facility. The two phases implemented have allowed the building put to use as an auditorium and multipurpose cultural space. It is expected that in the future, a third stage of use of historical archive to the upper floors of the chapels on the south side of the church.

Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-03 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto

The whole convent of Sant Francesc was built in the eighteenth century by Franciscan priests. Between 1721 and 1729 he built the convent of Sant Francesc including the church now recovered. The set was built using convent until 1835. In 2000 the convent was demolished by the state it was in ruins. Only remained standing, although in very poor condition, the church and part of the perimeter wall of the convent.

Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-02 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto

There was the recovery of a building that had never been isolated but formed an inseparable part of the whole convent. In fact, the existing upper floors the side chapels of the church and convent were units that could only give them access to the first floor of the convent, but not from the church. The church, which originally had only two walls, with the demolition of the convent went on to have four.

Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-07 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto


Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-08 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto

The church, with a very modest construction quality at source and was in ruins. Note that the covers had sunk, the choir disappeared and the vaults of the nave and chapels partially falls and no bearing capacity. From the outside presented only the interest of maintaining the historical profile of the people coming des south. The interior of the church, however, showed-despite the dilapidated state proportions i-spatially interesting. Thanks to the sinking deck, was surprisingly enhanced by large inflows of natural light that is produced by the missing parts of the roof . In this way the interior space, which originally received hardly any natural light, taking a majestic air to the inputs of light.

Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-10 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto


Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-11-759x304 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto

The premise of the project intervention was not to alter the size and spatial quality of the ship church and maintain the important inputs of natural light caused by subsidence. Maintaining light inputs at different points, and the substantial amount that is produced, has led to propose different solutions to specific cover each of the sites: a large skylight on the north side of the apse, a skylight keeps the views of the tower from the inside of the ship, the lack of cover in the main chapel and a cut in the deck right at the beginning of the ship that ensures maintaining a light input flush on the inside of the wall for access.

Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-09 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto


Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-15-563x1000 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto

The recovery of the building has been developed by applying the criteria to clearly differentiate the new elements constructed (using contemporary construction systems and languages) of the original elements and historical church. With the desire to preserve all aspects of the building’s past, the intervention has not hidden traces, wounds or scars. Thus, they have remained visible depressions, holes where empotraban altarpieces or traces of other elements missing. Another challenge posed was to maintain unity and dimension of the nave of the church even though they had to build volumes new uses and requirements that had never hosted the church stairs to climb to the upper floors, toilets and plant rooms. To preserve the reading unit and ample space inside the church, these volumes have been located in part outside the building or have been resolved within so as to maintain the vision of unified space in all its dimension of both the ship and the main chapel. The set of stairs and ramps built, apart from ensuring access to high PLANTS of the church, a circular path defined by the whole building as if it were a journey museizado . This circular route can trace back and completely revisit the whole church to appreciate its values from unique perspectives and diverse. ‘s performance, and the building methods used, have sought to strengthen the church without deleting the deterioration and collapse suffered for the building. The intervention has sought to preserve the building’s historic legacy by adding new values that enhance and contemporaneously single out the church’s former convent of Sant Francesc.

Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-14 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto

David Closes arquitecto:

The project of the Sant Francesc convent (Santpedor) has been selected to be part of the pavilion of Catalonia at Venice Biennial. The Catalan pavilion at Venice, with the proposal Grafting Architecture, exhibits a selection of 16 works. The exhibition takes the Bofarull house (1913-1933), by Josep Maria Jujol, as a starting point of the Catalan contemporary works selection in which the intervention, the transformation or the graft with the pre-existing structures creates a new and vigorous reality.

Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-05 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto

In this sense, the project of the Sant Francesc Convent Auditorium has been aimed to preserve the historical legacy of the building –all the legacy, including its amputations and scars- adding simultaneously new values which highlight and singularize the ancient building in a clear, radical and contemporary way. In Sant Francesc intervention, the historical legacy has been understood as a complete and continuous fact: from eighteenth century to nowadays; in order to project the building towards the future.

Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-04 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto

The exhibition Grafting Architecture seeks to describe not only each selected project, but also specially the process of drafting and designing of each one.

Convent-de-Sant-Francesc-By-David-Closes-arquitecto-12 Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto

© David Closes arquitecto

Project Data:

Project name: Convent de Sant Francesc
Location: Balearic Islands, Spain
Coordinates: n/a
Type: Church, Church Interior
Program: convert the building into a cultural facility, auditorium and multipurpose cultural space
Project Area: 950 m2
Project Date: 2005 (phase 1), 2010 (Phase 2)
Implementation: 2006-2008 (phase 1), 2010-2011 (phase 2)
Budget: 1,601,553 euro (taxes included)

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: City Council Santpedor
Architects: David Closes arquitecto – Manresa, Catalonia, Spain
Project Team: Dídac Dalmau (architect technical), BOMA (structure), Toni Vila (installation engineer)
Builder: Construccions F . Vidal / cious (GrupSoler)
Text Description: © Courtesy of David Closes arquitecto
Images: © David Closes arquitecto

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Convent de Sant Francesc / David Closes arquitecto
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