San Juan María Vianney Church finalist in the XI Ibero-American Architecture and Urban Design Biennial - El Universal

On July 10, 2019, the newspaper El Universal publishes a press release on the selection of the San Juan María Vianney Church in Media Legua Estado Vargas as finalist of the XI Ibero-American Architecture and Urban Design Biennial. The Church was selected among 997 submitted works from 22 countries and will be part of the Biennial’s exhibition in Asunción Paraguay between October 5 and 11, 2019.

The Ibero-American Architecture and Urbanism Biennial celebrates its 11th edition this year, with 22 countries participating from Mexico to Chile from the Americas, Portugal and Spain. On this occasion, 997 projects were presented from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Spain, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela. The jury of the Biennial selected 210 projects from this list, including 4 works in Venezuela:

  • Casa Guaparo - NMC Nómadas
  • Casa Núcleo - AGA estudio
  • Tropical Experiment House LP - Sánchez Taffur Arquitectos
  • San Juan Maria Vianny Media Legua Church - Elisa Silva, Architecture Link

After the deliberation of the jury chaired by Gloria Cabral and Solano Benítez (Asunción), and formed by Gabriela Carrillo and Mauricio Rocha (Mexico City), Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse (Lima), Josep Ferrando (Barcelona), Carlos Quintáns (La Coruña), Nicolás Campodónico (Rosario), Carla Juaçaba (Rio de Janeiro), Javier Corvalán (Asunción), and the curators of the XI BIAU Ana Román and Arturo Franco, 32 works were selected among which is the Church San Juan María Vianney de Elisa Silva and Enlace Arquitectura. These will be part of the publication and exhibition of the XI BIAU in Asunción Paraguay between October 5 and 11, 2019. The inauguration and award ceremony will take place on October 7.

The Church is located on the northern side of the coastal mountain range with a privileged view toward the Caribbean Sea in State of Vargas. The Media Legua community wanted to create a place of worship to which they could walk. The project began in 2008 with its design and then the foundations and walls were built. Little by little, at the pace of donations received, the structure of the church was built over a period of 10 years, although the benches, clerical furniture and landscaping is still pending. The project was built with 47,000 USD, donated by the Adveniat Foundation of Essen Germany, the New Evangelization Fund in Madrid and the Santos Apostoles Parish in Oviedo, both in Spain, and donations by private entities in Venezuela. Father Abelardo Bazó initiated the project when he was parish priest of Tarmas and has been its main promoter. Rafael Monterrey and his wife, Dilia, have taken care of the buildings of the Church throughout their construction process. The structural calculations were made by Engineer Ricardo Silva and the structure has been built by people from the community.

The church is made of cement blocks that act as structural walls, filled with concrete and steel rebar. Above 1.80 meters, openings begin to appear that grow in size as they rise row by row, creating porous walls that allow light to enter and air to circulate. Three openings bring the landscape into the interior of the church, framing trees and views.

Other projects recognized in previous celebrations of the BIAU have been Alejandro Borges González in the III edition with Symbiosis II Single House, Carlos Pou Ruan and Lucas Pou Ruan in the VI edition with the Villa del Cine, PA Puchetti Architects in the VII edition with the New Vaccine Production Plant of the National Institute of Hygiene "Rafael Rengifo" University City of Caracas and Enlace Arquitectura - Elisa Silva in the VIII edition with the Pavement project of Sabana Grande Boulevard. The BIAU is an initiative of the Government of Spain that began in Madrid in 1998. After eleven editions it represents a fundamental reference of architecture and urbanism in Ibero-America.

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