Church in La Laguna
by Menis Arquitectos


Slideshow: the concrete walls of this church in Tenerife are roughly lined with crushed volcanic rocks.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

Completed in 2008 by Spanish architect Fernando Menis of Menis Arquitectos, the church comprises four chunky concrete volumes separated from one another by sliced openings.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

Two overlapping cracks in the building’s end wall create a large cross-shaped window that is visible from within the nave.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

Gabion walls inside the building also create partitions between rooms.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

This is the second concrete church we've featured in recent months - see our earlier story about one on the side of a mountain in China.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

Photography is by Simona Rota.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

Here's some more text from Menis Arquitectos:

Church in La Laguna

This is a project located in the city of La Laguna on the Island of Tenerife. It is a place
that encourages reflection, a meditation space, an intrinsic space where a person of
any condition can go to find himself in the temple or join with others in the cultural

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

The building exists as a large piece of concrete split and cut into four large volumes,
at these separations movement occurs. This space creates light, allowing to enter
and penetrating into the space, they exist as if to signify a higher meaning inspiring a
spiritual presence and sense of tranquility.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

The building stands stark, stripped of superfluous elements that involve distractions far from its spiritual essence. The void has been sculpted to the same extent. The balance of proportions of void and building was vital to developing the identity of the project.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

We chose to exploit the properties of concrete, based on its isotropic nature energy efficiency is optimized by the thermal inertia of the walls. The building also gets a better acoustics result; thanks to a combination of concrete and local volcanic stones called picón, which is chopped afterwards and acts as a rough finish that has a degree of sound absorption that is superior to conventional concrete.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

Exterior, interior, structure, form, material and texture are joined inextricably by a complex study of the concrete.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

The volumetric impact of the building and its use of essential materials, treating concrete as if it were liquid stone capturing waterfalls of light, create the temple while also optimizing economic resources. The space reflects timeless emotion.

Church In La Laguna by Menis Arquitectos

Location: Los Majuelos, San Cristóbal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Spain.
Use: Social Center and Church.
Site Area: 550 m2
Total Constructed Area: 1.050 m2
Cost: 600.000 €
Structure: Reinforced concrete
Materials: Reinforced concrete, local stone, golden sheet.
Status: completed Social Center (2005-2008); under construction Church (2005-..)
Client: Holy Redeemer Parish.

Architect: Fernando Menis
Office: Menis Arquitectos

Project Team: Maria Berga, Niels Heinrich, Andreas Weihnacht
Construction Management: Juan Bercedo, Maria Berga, Roberto Delgado, Niels Heinrich, Sergio Bruns (2006-2007), Andreas Weihnacht

Support Staff: Andrés Pedreño, Rafael Hernández (quantity surveyors), Pedro Cerdá (acoustics), Ojellón Ingenieros, Milian Associats, Nueva Terrain SL (services)
Construction: Construcciones Carolina
Client: Obispado de Tenerife

  • Domilly

    lifeless, overdesigned and underwhelming?

    Would you want to sit, stand, pray in this space?

    I am not sure

    • I for one, definitely would.

      I applaud the bravery of the architects that decided to strip this space, intended to induce a spiritual awareness, of all the vain decorations with which we've come to associate a traditional church (lots and lots of golden stuff).

      Isn't that one of the main criticisms the church suffers nowadays? that they tend to care more about the golden adornments (i.e. the quaint dogmas) than about the real purpose of such buildings (i.e. to bring Man closer to God)?

      This would remain the attendees of the humble beginnings of their faith, when Christians had to assemble in catacombs or seek refuge in remote caves.

      • Marco

        The space is hardly stripped. It is very decorative and frivolous in its own way. It had all the potential to be raw and rudimentary, and I would applaud is at such, but somewhere in the process a silly formalism of joyfully juxapositioned forms and lines and gaps infiltrated the project. The result is a project that is unsure whether it wants to be self-important or rudimentary, massive or built up from faces, horizontal or vertical, earthly or defying gravity, defining space by silhouette or by texture.

        It's like using the ingredients for 10 great dishes to make a hotchpot.

        The resulting architecture is too dominant to call for reflection, too conflicting to be peaceful, too confused to be sacral.

  • toomuchcoffeeman

    This reminds me a lot of ‘church of light’ by Tadao Ando.

  • Pedro

    I'd even say this is a total Ando ripoff. I do like the sacral, earthy atmosphere.

  • JeffK

    Saying 'this building looks a bit like this other building' is the most boring type of comment. This is one of the fundamental parts of design- taking references and building on them to create new experiences. This has a completely different mood to the 'church of light'. Much more earthy and primitive. I think looks beautiful.

  • Zeeman

    No, it has a cross like the church of light.
    Menis' use of concrete is amongst the finest ever done.
    Look at his past works and this looks like a total Menis project.
    He is a master in same sphere as Ando.

  • Jetlee

    beautiful.. I don't think photos can truly express the real spacial experience of this church

  • wa_sulaiman

    Mr Menis is one of a kind architect. Not only is he original, he changes the landscape to a place in each of his project. One should visit Tenerife to actually understand what this means…

    Beautiful work!

  • This is a rather beautiful piece of architecture…

    religious buildings allow one to connect with this greater power of order, in this case, God. Many architects throughout history have created great religious structures by implementing a sense of order using geometry and carefully designed light entrances.

    Interestingly this doesn't use geometry and light to create a sense of order but to create a very primitive environment. This creates a sense of spirit which allow the user to feel more connected with God but in a completely different way to the likes of Canterbury Cathedral where the connection and atmosphere is produced using the gothic principle of 'perfect geometry'

  • Harshal

    Seems to be inspired by Tadao Ando's – Church of Light.

  • like the cross shaped window

  • David Mikhail

    We went to see this in the flesh and can report the reality is rather different. I can only assume the project images have been massively photoshopped. The building has been abandoned, seemingly half finished – terribly disappointing for the architects I am sure.

    But interestingly, the next project we went to see of this architect, the ‘Magma’ conference centre, also in Tenerife, has suffered the same fate – unfinished , unloved and covered in graffiti. I realise this may be a function of the economy, but cannot help but think that there has been a stylistic and sculptural absorbtion on the behalf of the architects where they haven’t thought about the function and the potential for real enjoyment and repeated use of their formal games and gestures.

    To be charitable, they may just have been unlucky. However, having seen the two projects, I am not so sure. Interestingly, the hunger for fresh images on this website fuels exactly this kind of problem. The disparity between image and reality is so often disappointing.

  • Edwin Johnson

    These images are very misleading. I went to visit this church a few weeks ago and it was unfinished and surrounded by construction refuse. The church was closed and looked never to have been opened.

    I went to see it based on images seen on Archdaily; the same images as above. We I looked at the images after viewing the church I can only conclude that they have been heavily Photoshopped to remove unsightly elements and make the building appear complete.

    Saying all that, the building is still a lot better than the Magma Art & Congress in Adaje, which was the other building of his I visited.