Text description provided by the architects. Next to one of the city of Talca’s harshest ghettos –Villa Las Americas- this Church in Villa la Paz serves not only as a place for religious cult, but it also embraces a social agenda in terms of a community program.
Because of the budget being extremely low only the Chapel could be built. Consequently its configuration is crucial to maintain and promote the social complementary program such as communal meeting rooms and small library.
As the neighborhood originates from an informal settlement, the site geometry results from an addition of irregular parts, like a fractal sequence. This reigning geometry is used to insert the small chapel by the torsion of a regular cubic volume avoiding front and rear facades hierarchies. From this arrangement the actual and upcoming social program in the perimeter is allowed and integrated in a centrifugal courtyard display.
As an optimistic gesture the classical cross plan of a church becomes a star inspired chapel: light in darkness.
The project’s steel and layered panel -very economical- construction system is triangulated to optimize the structure to hover the interior space without columns but also permitting a 15m long opening to the interior courtyard for highly attended festivities such as Christmas.
The technical and spatial qualities are more closer to a covered plaza than an enclosed building.
Since the passing neighbors constantly throw stones, a ceramic-mosaic finish by visual artist Simon Fuentes acts as an easy to repair, cheap, already broken wrapping, which also follows a millenary religious technique. That is Church(ita).