Nestled in the foothills of Los Piques in Santiago, Chile is the ascetical white volume of the Benedictine monastery church. The views presented here, with their diverse orientations and horizons, show how the rigid cubic structure is able to establish a variety of connections with the place where it sits while serving as a protection to the altar’s cube of light.
Nestled in the foothills of Santiago’s Los Piques Hill, the austere white volumes of the Benedictine monastery church form an ensemble that contrasts sharply, in geometry and color, with the smooth landscape of the Andean foothills.
The building is the result of the amazing work of two young architects recently admitted to the Order − Gabriel Guarda and Martín Correa − who accurately and rigorously make use of the project strategies necessary to turn light into the primary building material, revealing in the process an ascetic and mystical understanding of space.
The objective is to load the interior of the church nave with sense and intensity, formed by the encounter of two cubes, that of the faithful and that of the monks that, diagonally linked, generate a zone of intersection − a virtual third cube − where the altar is invaded by a complex and varied light of which we cannot directly perceive its origin.
In fact, the composition achieved through pure volumes and strict geometry, reinforced concrete (which is nothing other than an artificial stone) and the prominence of light, revealingly allows a stone altar at the foot of the Andes to be surrounded by an aura of light.
Through diverse orientations and horizons, the rigid cubic structure is able to establish a variety of connections with the place where it sits while serving as a protection to the altar’s cube of light.
José Quintanilla Chala is an architect from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (PUC,1993) and holds a PhD in Architecture from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (2204). He is co-author of the book Los Hechos de la Arquitectura and currently teaches at the PUC. Highlights of his work include the building for the Escuela de Jueces of Spain (School of Judges) in Barcelona and the Academic Building at the School of Arts at the PUC in Santiago, Chile.
- WHERE: Montecassino 960, Las Condes, Santiago
- HOURS: Vespers, daily at 6:00 PM
- PARKING: Available in front of the building