Vilanova de la Barca

Wienerberger Brick Award 2018 - Special Prize Winner Lleida / Spain / 2016

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The Ancient Church of Vilanova de la Barca (Lleida, Spain) is a 13th century Gothic building that was partially demolished in 1936 as a result of the bombings during the Spanish Civil War. Since then, the church had been in a general state of ruin, preserving just its apse, some fragments of the naves and the west façade. The main aim of the project was to recover the rests of the ancient church and to restore its original appearance while transforming the old structure in a new multi-purpose hall. The project aims to establish an architectural dialogue between the old parts and the new elements, between the past and the present.


The original church has a basilica-styled floor plan with two naves, a presbytery and lateral chapels. The building is 22 meters long and 7 meters wide, with an interior space rising up to 10 meters. In the oriental part, the surviving construction preserved two impressive lateral buttresses, probably of a Romanesque origin, and a ribbed vault of the 17th century in a late Gothic style in the apse. The entire church was built with a stone ashlar of the area which was largely damaged by the weather conditions and the erosion of time. More recently, the church has been severely affected by the construction of an attached single family house in the former graveyard.


The most important part of the project has focused on the covering elements: the façade and the roof. The project establishes a new brick façade based on a latticework texture and a new gabled Arab tile roof. The entire system is conceived as a new architectural ceramic shell that is gently supported over the remains of the ancient walls. The outer façade rises hermetic and opaque, with no windows, as a textured background that reproduces the wrinkled, dense and irregular texture of the stone ashlars of the ancient church, advocating for a visual continuity and integration with the original fabric. On the other hand, the inner façade is designed with a white perforated brick which reinforces the contrast and discontinuity between the old parts and the new elements. From the outside, the perception of the old church is restored, whereas in the inside, the building preserves the atmosphere of rest and introspection of the original sacred space.


The project offers a new alternative entrance to the building through the transformation of the area of the former graveyard, an adjacent space located between the church and the attached single family house. The project replaces the former access of the apse —a bizarre door introduced after the demolition of the church— and transforms this space into a new entrance patio, dignifying this area after years of being suffocated by the large adjacent dividing wall. The pergola, the trees, the carpeting vegetation and the water chain draw a new scenography that serves as an entrance threshold to the church’s interior.


[ES]


Santa María de Vilanova de la Barca (Lleida, España) es una iglesia gótica del siglo XIII que quedó parcialmente derribada en 1936 a causa de los bombardeos de la Guerra Civil Española. Desde entonces la iglesia había permanecido en un estado de ruina general y sólo conservaba su cabecera oriental, algunos fragmentos de las naves y su fachada occidental. El objetivo principal de la intervención ha consistido en la restauración de los restos de la antigua iglesia y su recuperación como nueva sala de usos múltiples. El proyecto establece un diálogo de complementarios entre las partes antiguas y nuevas, entre pasado y presente.


La iglesia original responde a un tipo de planta basilical con dos naves, presbiterio y capillas laterales. Tiene 22 metros de longitud y 7 metros de anchura y el interior se eleva hasta 10 metros. En la parte oriental se conservan unos imponentes contrafuertes laterales, posiblemente de origen románico, y en la cabecera una bóveda de crucería tardo-gótica del siglo XVII. Toda la iglesia fue construida con un sillar de la zona muy bien aristado y colocado a rompejuntas, muy dañado por el clima de la zona y la erosión del tiempo. Recientemente, la iglesia se vio gravemente afectada por la construcción de una vivienda unifamiliar adosada en el espacio del antiguo foso.


La parte más importante de la intervención se ha centrado en los elementos de cubrición: fachada y cubierta. El proyecto establece una nueva envolvente continua basada en una fachada de dos hojas y una cubierta de teja a dos aguas. Todo el sistema se concibe como una cáscara cerámica que se apoya delicadamente sobre los restos de los muros primitivos. La hoja exterior es una celosía hermética y opaca, sin ventanas, como una textura de fondo que reproduce el acabado denso e irregular de los sillares de piedra, exaltando la continuidad visual y la integración con la fábrica original. En la fachada interior en cambio, se opta por un revestimiento de ladrillo perforado y pintado de blanco que junto al techo metálico refuerza el contraste y la discontinuidad con las partes originales. Desde el exterior, el proyecto restablece la percepción de la antigua iglesia mientras que en el interior se conserva la atmósfera de reposo e introspección del espacio sacro original.


La propuesta define un nuevo acceso al edificio a través de la transformación del espacio del antiguo cementerio, la zona adyacente entre la iglesia y la casa unifamiliar adosada. Se sustituye la entrada existente desde el ábside -una extraña puerta introducida por el ayuntamiento tras el derrumbe de la iglesia- y se convierte el espacio lateral en un nuevo patio de acceso, reduciendo el impacto de la gran pared medianera sobre la iglesia. La pérgola, los árboles, la vegetación tapizante y la cadena de agua dibujan una nueva escenografía que sirve de umbral de acceso al interior de la iglesia.

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    The Ancient Church of Vilanova de la Barca (Lleida, Spain) is a 13th century Gothic building that was partially demolished in 1936 as a result of the bombings during the Spanish Civil War. Since then, the church had been in a general state of ruin, preserving just its apse, some fragments of the naves and the west façade. The main aim of the project was to recover the rests of the ancient church and to restore its original appearance while transforming the old structure in a new...

    Project details
    • Year 2016
    • Work finished in 2016
    • Client Ajuntament de Vilanova de la Barca
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Churches / Multi-purpose Cultural Centres / Recovery/Restoration of Historic Buildings
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