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Auditorium of the Sant Francesc Convent



Santpedor is a small village of approximately 7,000 inhabitants within Barcelona administrative region, a few km to the north of Manresa. Its recently inaugurated auditorium is located within the shell of a previously extensive convent and church built by the Franciscans during the early 18th Century. When religious lands were confiscated by Mendizábal in 1835 the church was deconsecrated and its slow decline began, in 1979 a hail storm damaged the roof and since then the convent itself was demolished in order to build a secondary school. The church was subsequently used as a school, an abattoir and dumping ground for old cars. The project for the provision of a cultural venue and historical archive was conceived by local villagers who held an architectural competition in order to come up with ways of preserving the old church and converting the building into a vibrant element of the community once again.

The final solution makes it quite clear what is contemporary and what is original, striped back to its structure the damaged parts of which have been utilised to introduce light or to locate modern services like the PA system or the toilets on the ground floor accommodated within a glass pod floating above the ground level within an annex to the main chapel. Pigeons fly freely between the new glass enclosure and the original dishevelled, peeling plaster walls of the former side chapel. Among the specific additions are a new roof, two stairs that provide access to a future historical archive/exhibition space, a reconfigured entrance module. Robust and heavy duty the new elements nevertheless are artfully installed and the overall project retains a quality of its religious origins but feels entirely contemporary. Lighting and under floor heating are provided to comply with 21st standards of comfort.

  • Nave of the former church and auditorium

    © Jordi Surroca

  • Nave of the former church and current auditorium

  • Concrete structure accommodating stairs and other services

  • New structural stair and main entrance

  • David Closes i Nuñez
  • 2006-2011
  • Fotografías de Jordi Surroca