Las Cabras’s Sacred Heart Project began after the structure of the old complex was severely damaged due to the earthquake that affected Chile on February 27th, 2010.
The work consistedin demolishing what was left from the affected structure located in the heart of the town and build a new church with the corresponding parish offices and amenities.
To begin the project, we asked ourselves the following question: Where can we find a profound aspect of our culture that can serve as a reference to project such a significant building as a church?
The answer came from the most subjective thing: four pictures found in a family photo album showing a humble colonial house. This appeared to have the key to answer all those concerns that we had formulated. These pictures linked our personal and emotional story with an architectonic heritage that until that moment had not touched us deeply or directly.
The Pictures taken by my father, show a big clay roof in the middle of the vegetation deformed by its own weight. They also show a regular columned corridor with same size centered windows each one revealing the size of the interior walls. They also depict, between the crumbling old stucco, the adobe which provides form to the volume and above all, they show a kind of tradition not noted for its uniqueness but for the safety of perpetuating certain minimum postulates.
From that point on, we found the navigation map; we found a place to comeback in case we were distracted with false speculations.
The Project had some minimal internal rules. A symmetrical axis, that provided a way to access and a way to organize the program. A uniform height to all walls, that would be generous but respectful from the town scale and heights. This regular height would satisfy the wished proportion extracted from our humble colonial house of the picture. A wall size (24inches) made of a mixed structural system of concrete, bricks, steel, clayand straw. All of them making the old with the new, the local knowledge and new technology coexist.
Finally a big question: Do we build with colonial clay? Do we include in this new construction all those formal and symbolic connotations of an old erainto a 2010 project?, Why if we had chosen a literal way to make the walls (filling them with straw and finishing with clay and lime) we wouldn’t do the same with the roof?
Our decision was affected by a series of conditions like the weight, color and thrift of the material. The pre-painted, galvanized metal panel (hand crafted, linked and modulated according to a pattern) was chosen to satisfy our wishes.