Tas's Church
Garmendia Cordero arquitectos

For Garmendia Cordero, any change in the use of a space would require a series of actions that adapt such place to the new needs that are presented beyond the implicit ones that entails the updating of it.

On this occasion, they were commissioned with an exceptional work: transforming an abandoned Renaissance church into a home.

The small church was built during the second half of the 16th century. It underwent an important remodeling in neoclassical terms at the end of the 18th century, increasing its height and adding, among other things, a belfry and a water trough.

Throughout the process, three concepts constituted the road map for them: the history, the client and the project understood as a prologue.

The architect’s idea was to intervene in the most sensitive way, touching the church only when there was no other alternative, understanding the action as an outsider element implanted within a ruin.

At the beginning, the building was not covered, collapsed in its own interior, and in a worrying state of structural instability.

For Garmendia Cordero, the way to think of dwelling is directly linked to the lifestyle of the inhabitant and, for that reason, this project is the result of a desire to tame an unusual space.

Understand housing as an open space and setting up the home as a meeting place, as an opportunity to socialise housing architecture.

Operating to respect the previous history but with contemporary concepts.

The project ended up being designed by "two hands", sharing concerns, knowledge, aspirations and obsessions because Tas, the client, became the generator of the project.

Visualising, designing, drawing, and even being part of some execution parts of the work.

Once the work of the architect was finished, the project would continue to grow in the hands of Tas, assuming the consequences that entails a change of use and scale that implies generating a dwelling within a church, in the different lighting and environmental needs that mark its new life.

Respecting what was already there, leaving visible what is generated in the present, voluntarily and consciously facing the history of the previous building, without touching or making up the scars that show their travel almost as directly as a story would.

And it will do so by understanding how that new space has acquired a new value, how it has been achieved, without forgetting the past, to convert a space of worship into a home.

Authors Garmendia Cordero arquitectos (Álvaro Cordero Iturregui, Carlos Garmendia Fernández) 
Client and codesigner Tas Careaga
Location Sopuerta, Bizkaia, Spain
Surface 190 sqm
Year 2019
Photography Carlos Garmendia Fernández

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a project powered by Itinerant Office

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