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The Eighteenth-Century Turns Into a Bright Cultural Center


The architect David Closes restored an old Catalan church and turned it into a spectacular cultural center.

One of the most interesting and laudable trends in contemporary architecture is the restoration of abandoned places. In some sense, this is a process of crystallization en which two eras, two wills, two ways of understanding the world through space –one past, one present– come together to create something entirely new.

Recently, the architect David Closes turned the small convent of Sant Francesc, located in the Catalan region of Santpedor, into an auditorium and a cultural center. He restituted a building which was built in the 18th century, ransacked in 1835, and left in ruins until the year 2000 when a demolition company left nothing standing but the church.

To transform the place, Closes repaired the damaged roof by installing windows and skylights, preserving thus the original masonry. From one of the sides of the building one can now see a bright rectangular structure that seems to float just a few meters above the floor, which is also the hub of a ladder, left there to keep the basic design of the church intact.

Thus, Closes has given this Catalan beauty back to the people––A building that would otherwise be sentenced to oblivion and debris.

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