Arquitectura Viva
Friday, February 21, 2020

Church of the Main Seminary of the Pontifical University of Comillas

Fernández-Abascal + Muruzabal, Alonso / Barrientos and Pesquera Ulargui arquitectos have carried out an overhaul of the Church of the Main Seminary  of the Pontifical University of Comillas (Cantabria). Construction of the seminary began in 1881 and it fell into disuse in the 1980s. Renovation work started in 2007. After completion of the first phase in 2010, the various spaces of the west cloister were allocated for teaching and complementary uses, and the remodeled zones of the central part (foyer, auditorium, and the space over the auditorium) for institutional purposes and tourist-cultural visits.

Clad in tiles, the church is built with systems and materials which are common in late-19th-century edifices. It incorporates elements of Catalan tradition as well as Gothic and Mudejar features, combined with modernist ornamentation carried out by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner.

The project to revamp the church involved two kinds of superposed interventions. On the one hand, structural reconstruction of the walls and floor slabs, sealing of the envelope, and restoration of interior claddings. On the other, improvement of the functioning and accessibility of the church, and creation of new openings on the facade and roof, generating new connections between church and adjacent cloisters and enhancing the quality of light in the interior spaces.
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