A Contemporary Tale That Dwells In History
Not often does a Renaissance-era church reinvent itself as a contemporary residence. But when it does, the result can be particularly breathtaking. The newly unveiled Church of Tas in Sopuerta, Spain, is a fascinating if unusual example of adaptive reuse. Expertly executed by Garmendia Cordero Architects, the project serves as a picture-perfect primer on heritage conservation and eclectic sophistication.
Church of Tas began its journey with a rather atypical site. An abandoned 16th century hermitage. Enveloped by verdant mountains and with just a handful of other buildings for company, it was perfectly suited for use as an idyllic retreat. Its structure, however, posed more than a few challenges. Neglected for decades, structurally unstable, lacking a roof, and sporting an assortment of architectural elements including a neoclassical belfry. Consequently, it asked for a fair degree of care and expertise in order to be repurposed.
To begin with, Garmendia Cordero Architects approached the project from three key perspectives. The first, was the historic aspect. They took care to preserve the parent building with all its original 16th century elements and 18th century additions. Any interventions made, were as secondary ‘layers’ over the original structure, creating a rich visual story.
The second perspective was the client himself. The lifestyle, the aesthetic preferences and aspirations played key roles throughout the conceptualisation and implementation process. Taking these aspects under consideration, the designers were able to craft a free-flowing living space. Additionally, vibrant contemporary furniture and fixtures could rest upon raw, rough-hewn finishes, where clean-cut mezzanine inserts could bisect tall Renaissance archways.
By treating the client as a generator of the design, Garmendia Cordero Architects made Church of Tas a dynamic work of architecture. Moreover, revering the building’s history while looking ahead at its current and potential uses, they created a starting point. More specifically, the space can grow, evolve and take on new meanings over time serving as the third and perhaps the most important aspect of the project story.
Church of Tas retains all the markers of a historic place of worship. Encased in roughly plastered stone walls and flaunting its arched windows and vaulted ceilings with a plomb. Its contemporary overlays maintain a respectful distance from the original structure. Quirky furniture, bold artwork, and cosy furniture settings bathed in warm light. Summing up, evocative and unabashedly unique, this contemporary residence casts adaptive reuse in an exciting new mould.