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Barclay & Crousse: community church, Santa Cruz de Asia, Peru.

Paris-based Barclay & Crousse found fame in these pages with their sybaritic beach houses on Peru's desert coast. Two clifftop dwellings were premiated in recent AR Awards cycles (AR December 2001 and December 2003), both essays in deft spatial organisation and thoughtful use of materials, intended to evoke the spirit of pre-Colombian and colonial houses anchored in the land.

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This latest project, however, is worlds away from the lotus-eating world of holiday homes for Lima's elite. Santa Cruz de Asia is an impoverished, sprawling shanty town in the desert 100km south of Lima. The community decided to build a church and one of their leaders, Maestro Velasquez, a mason who had worked with Barclay & Crousse on the Casa Equis (AR December 2003), proposed the partnership as architects. As resources are limited, the church will be built by the town's inhabitants, some of whom are very skilful masons.

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Due for completion in 2008, the new building is conceived as a tranquil refuge for humanity amid the harshness and aridity (in climate and spirit) of the desert setting. Unlike the beach houses, extrovertly structured around sea views, here the architecture is hermetic and internalised to focus minds on higher things. An imposing, imperforate wall wraps around the building, enclosing the simple orthogonal volume of the church with an internal patio to one side of the nave. A modest campanile marks the entrance. The patio, a traditional lberian device, will be planted with trees to create a literal and symbolic oasis waiting to be revealed beyond the stark geometry of the exterior. C.S.

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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Community
Publication:The Architectural Review
Date:Jan 1, 2007
Words:272
Previous Article:Alberto Campo Baeza: nursery/pre-school, Treviso, Italy.
Next Article:Baumschlager & Eberle: multifunctional building, Rohner Port, Austria.


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