Lambrechts-Bertinat Arquitectos design a small Catholic Church in Uruguay
The national competition, launched by the Catholic Church in Uruguay and the Society of Architects of Uruguay, was to design a small church on theRiver Plate coast, near Colonia, Uruguay. This was won by Lambrechts-Bertinat Architects. The project was completed in December 2006.
This small Catholic Church is situated on the shores of the River Plate on the isolated Parant Beach. The stretches of white sand contrast sharply with the blood red waters of the River Plate making an ethereal quality in the light which is reflected in the colours of the church.
The interior is light, wrapped up by these two folding-bracing walls holding a hull shaped roof, a hyperparaboloid, “floating above” that draws the views of the visitors. This isolated sculptured church also respects the traditional constructions of the village in a congenial fashion. The only standing-out element, the cross/campanile, can be seen from the beach above the line of trees along the coast.
The design was inspired by a nautical theme based on references from the inspirational story of a small XVIIth century carved wooden image of the Virgin Mary, made by Indigenous South Americans, brought to the country through the mighty South American rivers. The overall composition echoes the Modern Dutch Expressionism, which became a traditional language in domestic and public Uruguayan architecture since the early 1920's.
Conceived to 'float' on a moat of water the Church rises up and uses the reflective qualities to increase its presence as well as its acoustic reflective properties to perform mass in the outdoor spaces during the summer.