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Church of Santo Domingo de Silos in Alarcón

Rehabilitation of an old church as a cultural center in Alarcón, Cuenca.

Església de Santo Domingo de Silos a Alarcón
Església de Santo Domingo de Silos a Alarcón

Church of Santo Domingo de Silos in Alarcón

The old church of Santo Domingo de Silos in Alarcón was in a high state of disrepair. The dilapidated character of the monument and especially the absence of covering both in the central nave and in the two chapels attached to the main façade, had a certain charm at the same time that it favored the view in its entirety, from the interior of the nave, of the beautiful Renaissance tower.

Authors

Batlleiroig Arquitectura. Enric Batlle Durany, Joan Roig i Duran – Architect

Team

Lluís Roig – Building engineer

Promoter

MOPU – Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Urbanismo, Ayuntamiento de Alarcón

Project status

Built

Start date

1986

Finish date

1988

Total area

500 m2

A juxtaposition of eras

Santo Domingo de Silos shows on its own surfaces the different eras of creation, expansion and even abandonment that it has suffered. A review of his factory work allows us to read like a skin worn down by the years or like the bark of a tree, the vicissitudes through which his building has passed.

The church not only reflects on its walls the history of its own construction, but together with the other churches of Alarcón it collects a part of the history of Spain, its times of splendor and deterioration, its customs, styles and concerns throughout more than seven centuries.

With this rehabilitation, the aim is to rescue the church from its present and glorious ruin so that, an invariable sign of the times, it is destined for an auditorium, a cultural center and a shelter for exhibitions.

 

Three directing lines of the intervention

Not enhancing with the intervention any of the previous periods in particular, but collecting them all to emphasize precisely this character of juxtaposition that the building presents at this time.

Recover some of the effects that its current dilapidated state makes possible such as: the vision in its entirety of the Renaissance tower, the entrance of light to the nave, etc.

Propose, according to current criteria, those repairs that are considered necessary for their best functionality, paying special attention to the use of natural lighting, the quality of the materials to be used, the organization of both interior and exterior routes that allow a vision of the church in its totality, etc.

New roof and pavement

Given the degree of deterioration and the poor quality of the arches and vaults that remain in the central nave, it is proposed that they be demolished and covered again by means of a system of wooden trusses supported by double pillars attached to the masonry work by a metal foot. These trusses, raised above the top of the wall, leave a perimeter strip of lighting, resolved by wooden windows.

These trusses would support a system of rafters, battens, and tongue and groove protected with copper plate that would form the roof. In his encounter with the Renaissance tower, he would substitute glass for copper in order to allow the entire view of the tower. The roof of the chapel with a lace structure would be protected and waterproofed, making it practicable. The roof of the apse, south chapel and central access chapel to the tower, would also be protected with copper plates, but allowing, in the apse, the entrance of grazing light through the wall and in the south chapel the covering with glass of the circle central of the demolished vault, restoring the pendentives. The lateral access chapel to the tower would be enabled for services, warehouse and staircase.

The church floor is completely paved with 100 x 50 Quintana granite slabs extending to the outside in order to create an entrance area at the same level as the church floor. The unevenness with the floor of the square is saved by steps, like steps, which allow possible performances at the entrance of the church in the manner of the old medieval representations.

Interior renovation

Inside the church, the plaster pilasters are restored up to the height of the capital, while the rest of the walls are restored highlighting the different stone factories that make up the building. The interpilaster space is adapted by means of mobile wooden panels that allow on their surface to expose paintings or altarpieces and that would be illuminated by an upper light guide. In their lower part (deeper) they allow you to store the chairs or benches to be used in the event of a concert or recital. This same system of panels arranged in the apse creates a performance area allowing to hide spotlights and speakers. The side panels can even be moved and, articulating in the light guides, also arranged in the center of the church. The side chapels, their walls also covered with this ceiling system, can be closed allowing particular uses. For example, the base of the tower and the asymmetric ribbed as an exhibition of the artistic background or some valuable piece, while the base of the vault can serve as a small office or seating area and waiting for the people who must act.

In addition to an interior route, the possibility of accessing the crown of the wall has been planned to reach the roof of the ribbed chapel located to the north and from which you can enjoy a wide view of the valley and the plain. This exterior route, which also serves to register and clean the roof and upper windows, is accessed from the existing staircase that gives access to the upper part of the tower.