A 16th century abandoned Renaissance church with a collapsed roof has been adapted into a unique and character-filled home in the Spanish countryside. Structurally unsound and in a state of total ruin, the old building offered plenty of potential to celebrate it’s history and at the same time create a brand new future.
This adaptive reuse project transforming an abandoned church followed the philosophy of doing ‘as much as you need and as little as possible’, with careful consideration given to all design decisions along the building process. Changes were made to the existing building only when absolutely necessary, whilst still ensuring that it became a comfortable and practical home.
The architect, Garmendia Cordero Arquitectos decided to use the existing attributes of the church to full advantage. The new kitchen sits neatly into the church apse (the semi-cicrular recess covered with a domed ceiling), high walls have slim shelves which make the perfect gallery space for art, a wood heater occupies a small wall facing the living areas and the long flue radiates heat through the entire height of the space, the overhang of the newly installed upper levels provide the perfect lounge room nook and trailing plants perched on the edge of the light-filled top level will in time grow down to become a green privacy curtain for the bedroom.
All new insertions have been made from materials which sensitively blend in with the existing fabric of the building. The extensive use of solid timber for the new upper levels, roof structure and stairs feels like a gentle and sympathetic choice against the warmth of the existing mottled stone walls and the rough concrete daub effect on the new bathroom wall ties in with the existing patched brickwork. The soft grey of the new concrete floor, which most often looks modern and cold, has a subtle patina which already looks aged and well-worn.
Related project: If you like adaptive reuse projects, check out Capsule Hotel by Atelier Tao+C
– Adaptive reuse abandoned church project
– A ruined building was salvaged from potential demolition
– Extensive use of timber used for all new additions
– Sensitively placed glazed doors, windows and skylights to provide natural light and ventilation
Each project revolves around a client or at least one user destined to inhabit said project but, in the present case, this figure acquires even greater prominence.
The way in which to think about a home is directly linked to the lifestyle of the inhabitant and, as such, this project is the consequence of a desire to domesticate an unusual space, to do so with respect to previous history but with contemporary concepts. to understand the home as an open space and to consider the home as a meeting place, as an opportunity for socialization of the residential architecture.
Thus, this project ended up being designed “two-handed”, drawing itself by both actors in the literal sense, sharing concerns, knowledge, aspirations and obsessions. This fact generates that the figure of Tas, the client, becomes the generator of the project from beginning to end, visualizing it, in the designer and executor, drawing, projecting and even being part of the same material execution of parts of the project. work and in the later actor who will continue an unfinished work.
Nadine is the founder and editor of Eco Edition and founder of the Eco Edition Design School. She’s an experienced interior designer, sustainable materials consultant, speaker and serial home renovator.