parish church of San Ildefonso. Granada

project report

In the shadow of a hundred-year-old grape trellis.

The parish church of San Ildefonso was built outside the city walls in 1501, near the Rabadasif mosque and alongside the well of the same name, which remained next to it. The church has a basilica floor plan with a single nave adjoined by lateral chapels. The head of the church has a square floor plan and connects to the sacristy and to the houses of the rector and sexton.

The project consisted of habilitating these poorly constructed annexes, which had suffered numerous clumsy partial interventions to provide the necessary offices and conference rooms. The arch of a former access door closed in the 15th century was found in the church wall and made visible. The intervention was carried out with a very tight budget, using glass partitions to allow light to pass through to the corridor. The floors are of polished and tinted concrete and the carpentry is of white-lacquered wood.

Access to these buildings of domestic character is through an irregular patio covered by a hundred-year-old grape trellis offering shade and shelter. This wise plant-based architecture adds character to the setting. One person told me that in the 1930s, when she was a child, she came to San Ildefonso for her brother’s baptism and her only memory is of the patio with its grape trellis. Mediterranean architecture could be defined as the creation of adequate shade. Controlling light calls for the construction of shadows, which is what we can actually modify. Shadows are the Indian ink architects use to draw the subtle lines of classical orders in Greek temples, what nomads use to define the limits of their tents, or what the Abaycin’s patios use to defend themselves from the midday sun.

H2O. Valencia 2009