Whether it’s converting a gas station into a cultural center or a Walmart into a public library, there have been many notable examples of adaptive reuse in architecture, where derelict or disused buildings are remade to serve some new function. It’s beneficial as the greenest building is one that is already standing, and it can give new life and purpose to not just a building, but the surrounding communities in such cases.
Case in point: the 100-year-old abandoned church of Santa Barbara in Llanera, Asturias, Spain has recently been converted into a new kind of temple — a public skatepark and a place for colourful art. Seen over at Designboom, Spanish artist “Okuda” San Miguel covered the walls and ceilings of this old church into an eye-popping experience with plenty of spiritually uplifting iconography. Watch this video interview with the artist and see the new space:
© Red Bull Media
La Iglesia Skate/via
Dubbed The Kaos Temple, the church’s surfaces are now full of interesting, rainbow-coloured geometric forms that delight the senses. With hints of celestial night skies, stylized images of birds, trees, and other forms, the light streaming into the church comes alive with this wonderful play of colour and forms so distinct to Okuda’s unique style. He says:
In general, for the last few years my work talks a bit about the war between nature’s forces and the human being; between modernity and roots. Self-destruction, existentialism, things like that. But my creations don’t have any special meaning. You have to see the whole part to be able to understand the iconography a bit. I always show confrontational concepts like freedom and oppression. I like using contradictions which invite people to reflection.
© Red Bull Media
San Miguel, whose works have ranged from painting over fountains to huge sixteen-storey murals, calls this church restoration a kind of “personal Sistine Chapel” for him. Being able to get high up on a crane, listening to music and painting out of doors or in monumental spaces like this church lets him feel like he is free in the world.
This Is Colossal/via
As a public skatepark, this space will be a safe space for skateboarders to use, without getting hassled for using an alternative mode of transportation, as they are often are on city streets. The restoration project was spearheaded by the Church Brigade collective, with support from crowdfunders and Red Bull. Converting a religious space into a church of freedom of human movement, The Kaos Temple is a great example of how forgotten buildings can be transformed into completely unexpected new spaces, that revive and bring communities together. To see more, visit Designboom and Okuda.