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New Lid Brings New Life to Church

Friday, January 23, 2015

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A relic of the Spanish Civil War has been brought back to life with a new roof in Corbera d’Ebre, Spain.

A transparent roof installation, directed by Spanish architect Ferran Vizoso, has preserved the ruins of an old church and returned the sacred space to the community, near Tarragona.

Protecting Ruins

Heavily damaged during the Battle of Ebro in 1938, the town’s iconic hilltop church was left roofless and exposed to years of deterioration.

Images: José Hevia

"The main purpose of the work was to give the old church back to the people, transform it in a new and secure multifunctional public room," according to the project details.

The municipality wanted to improve the building without changing its aged, battered look. It also wanted a functional multipurpose venue.

Thus, Vizoso's team transformed the 1,050-square-meter space with a roof of transparent ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) plastic panels, according to the project details.


Heavily damaged during the Battle of Ebro in 1938, the town’s iconic hilltop church was left roofless and exposed to the elements.

"Known for their impressive durability, thermal efficiency and light properties, ETFE panels create a protective transparent film over the entire ruin," according to

The project cost 742,043 € (about $858,666 USD).

Inside and Outside

Completed in 2013, the work strikes a subtle balance between the interior and exterior, project details report.


Light streams through the ruins, thanks to transparent ETFE plastic panels used as roofing.

The sensations of still being outside when entering the old temple are felt, the architect noted.

Light streams through the ruins while breezes and bird sounds permeate the interior, according to the architect.


Tagged categories: Building materials; Churches; Europe; Maintenance + Renovation; Restoration; Roofing materials

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