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San José de las Palmas, Lomas

Photos this page courtesy of the San José Palmas Facebook page

The San José de las Palmas Augustinian church in Lomas may be one of few of Modernist Churches in these pages that fits the designation of Brutalism. Built between 1968 and 1981, the project was the work of architect Rafael Fara with the engineering provided by Javier Valverde. The church’s rather stark exterior appearance is made up for by a nearly musical interior. It most famous for the massive Modernist deep-relief mosaic of the Crucifixion over the altar.  Light descends from an enormous sweeping overhead skylight.

The church is built with a single orthogonal nave with a flat slab roof. Colored windows are in reference to some of Le Corbusier’s religious works. The effect is musical.

The church is visible from across the neighborhood by the massive corner bell tower. The two facades are perforated by numerous windows. From the outside they follow a seemingly random and perhaps jarring composition. But as mentioned, on the inside they need to be seen to be appreciated.

The church serves as a prominent local landmark. The Paseo de las Palmas is nearly always a busy street. The interior, here, may just provide a welcome respite.

Ivan San Martín Córdova, 2016, Estructura, abstracción y sacralidad, pp. 232-234 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

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