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The reconstruction of Buchupureo’s Chapel in south Chile

Part 2 Project 2011
Isidora LarraíN De Andraca
Pontifical Catholic University of Chile Santiago Chile
A Chapel in a town is an important piece of its identity and history, becoming a relevant site for tourism. By reconstruction process this project proposes a new chapel rescuing preexisting constructions and local materials with a new form. Using the old system of recycling heritage, the inside of the building is preserved in order to remember the vernacular tradition but with a new exterior image.

The preexisting fragments in the site of the project are: (1.) stone hall, undamaged by earthquake and (2.) old and damaged adobe chapel with no roof.
The overall strategy of the project is: two volumes based on preexisting pieces, constituting a square between both volumes.

1. - How do we deal with these adobe walls through a new building?
These adobe walls are protected by a larger structure. White adobe, with its thick and massive condition marks the presence of significant elements of liturgy like an altarpiece. These walls are anchored to the earth (characteristic condition of massive adobe), but also, in transition to heaven through sacraments and prayer (lightness of white).

2.-In contrast to massive adobe, a new roof is built on top, as a “light blanket”.
This covering unifies space and controls light. Its wooden structure filters light through “blinds” (or lattice) and the altar is illuminated from above.
The total cover builds a new "box" and acquires the post-conciliar status of a unitary community gathered for liturgy.

3.- What happens between these two "boxes"? How is the liturgical program developed?
The adobe box surrounds the most sacred place; then the space between the blinds and the adobe is the assembly: a dynamic space built by the congregation that receives light filtered through the lattices.
In addition, floors and walls made of flagstone (typical material of the area) conduct processional routes, preparation for the liturgy.

In summary, the project acquires the status of a "Russian doll", as new layers wrap preexisting fragments. The first layer is the larger box of blinds, designed to show the other layers made of flagstone, and finally, the "box" of typical local adobe is at the center.
The project emphasizes the intersection between container and content: materials and liturgy, both being causes for renovation.

Isidora LarraíN De Andraca


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