cheungvogl attempt to stop devastation cycle with architecturally sound design
San Antonio de Chépica was founded in a town north of San Antonio in 1824. In 1875, the church was relocated and the new San Antonio de Chépica was rebuilt in 1876. The structure suffered serious damage in the 1906 earthquake.
On 27 February 2010, the massive 8.8 quake struck Chile for 90 seconds at a depth of 35 km. Seismologists estimate the day may have shortened by 1.26 microseconds, the axis of the earth shifted by 8 cm and its territory expanded by 1.2 km. San Antonio de Chépica has been, once again, destroyed. The damages caused by earthquakes to developing countries can be severe due to unsophisticated earthquake-resistant construction. Most reconstruction schemes in remote areas and small villages aim to 'reproduce quickly, exactly as it was'. Without the luxury of time and resources to critically rethink the impact of these significant changes to the environment, without precise reconsideration of urban planning and architectural mistakes, history is likely to repeat itself.
Within a large room of 850 sq m is a smaller room of 350 sq m slotted in on the first level, providing flexible spaces for smaller gatherings. The dynamic movements of the roof, shifting in two planes, subtly define the interior spaces. Upon entry, the tilting of the roof structure seamlessly integrates the volume of the bell tower into the main volume of the church. The dramatic spatial experience towards the highest point of the church leads to the bell tower. The fold on the roof plane allows its simultaneous extension to another high point, directly above the altar below which marks the thin standing cross.
The interior is penetrated with subtle rays of natural daylight through all sides of the facades and is furnished with rows of timber benches, orthogonally placed throughout the open space. The eastern wall is cladded with recycled timber panels, in an attempt to document history and time. Structurally, seismic resistant reinforced concrete construction is engineered to provide thermal masses that keep the building cool in the summer and warm in the winter by storing energy effectively.