Here at The Superslice, if it’s properly executed, we are big fans of the mashup and remix. If there is a clear display of creativity, exertion of energy and thought within that mash, it fuels The Superslice fire. This site was founded upon the notion of hybridization, context and influence. We dig it all and that is the life-blood of what we try to feature.

Everything is a remix they say; the illusion and perception that everything is recycled and every avenue of “new” creation has been tapped…pervades us. We are then pushed and inspired to recombine and cross-pollinate; combining various fields, joining conflicting genres, mashing sounds and juxtaposing forms. And this is where it gets interesting, that intersection, that part of the Venn diagram that holds that tension. Sometimes it fits like a glove and they become soulmates. Sometimes it’s a beautiful mess. Sometimes opposites attract. Whatever the case, it is all a beautiful alchemy.

Case in point, here is a marvelous intervention by architect David Closes of a church in the Catalan town of Santpedor, Spain. It poetically joins the old and the new; a smart cocktail of history and modernity which converts a church in ruins into an auditorium and a multifunctional cultural facility. When it’s perfectly rendered in this manner, that conterminous architecture is like the best free jazz. When the right notes are played, the mashups of architectural and structural forms are the best type of mashup; it’s the zenith of the mod or hack. We strive for that confluence and seek it out.


The intervention in the church of the convent of Sant Francesc, located in the Catalan town of Santpedor, was meant to convert the building into a cultural facility. The two phases implemented have allowed the building to be put to use as an auditorium and multipurpose cultural space. It is expected that in the future, a third stage will allow the upper floors of the chapels (on the south side of the church) to be used as a historical archive.

The convent complex of Sant Francesc was built in the eighteenth century by Franciscan priests. The convent, which includes the renovated Church, was built between 1721 and 1729. The complex was used as a convent until 1835. In 2000 the convent, by then in ruins, was demolished by the state. Only the church and part of the perimeter wall of the convent remained standing, although in very poor condition.

The church, due to its very modest construction quality, was in ruins. It bears noting that the roof had sunk, the choir had disappeared, and the vaults of the nave and chapels had partially fallen. The church, from the outside, was only interesting from a historical perspective. The interior of the church, however, showed – despite its dilapidated state – remarkable spatial qualities. Thanks to the sinking roof and crumbling ceiling, the church was surprisingly enhanced by large inflows of natural light. The interior of the church, which originally received virtually no natural light whatsoever, took on a majestic air in the light.

The premise of the project intervention was to maintain the size and spatial quality of the nave of the church as well as the important inputs of natural light. Attempting to maintain light inputs at different points led us to propose different solutions: a large skylight on the north side of the apse, a skylight with views of the belfry from the inside of the nave, an open main chapel, and a cut in the roof right at the beginning of the nave to ensure light would reach the inside of the entrance wall.

The renovation of the building has been developed with the goal of differentiating the new elements constructed (using contemporary construction systems and languages) from the original elements of this historical church. With the aim of preserving all aspects of the building’s past, the intervention has not hidden traces, wounds or scars. Thus, they have remained visible depressions, holes where the altarpieces once were, traces of missing elements.

The construction and the building methods used have sought to strengthen the church without deleting the signs of deterioration the building has suffered. The intervention has sought to preserve the building’s historic legacy by adding new values that enhance it and give this ancient convent a unique, contemporary form.

via ArchDaily

photography by Jordi Surroca



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