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Paraguayan Episcopal Conference

Giacomo Favilli, Nicolás Berger, Sergio Ruggeri

Asunción, Paraguay

March 2020


Giacomo Favilli, Nicolás Berger, Sergio Ruggeri


Julio Alvarez, José Bachero, Miguel Ángel Gonzalez Merlo, Carlos Areco, ABH - Alberto Barrail e Hijos S.A.


Conferencia Episcopal Paraguaya


Luis Ayala, Federico Cairoli, Daniel Ojeda


Public Space
We propose to create a public space as a bonus to the project, transforming the spaces where the Church builds community, breaking the limits between public and private. The edifice confines, conform and define the margins of the project. Throughout the project, this Public Space presents itself in different formats, as covered, opened, interior and exterior building a sequence of experiences from the street to the park and from park to building.
The built environment in a public setting shapes and conditions urban living spaces. The better the quality of architecture in cities, the better the urban living experience. To transform the collective being is to break the boundaries between "what's mine and what is ours." Urbanism is defined by plazas, alleys, corners, textures, scents, fragments, and continuums.


The Collective
Our project proposes an open public building that satisfies all CEP function needs, with a structure inserted within Parque Seminario that bridges the gap between natural context and the city. The CEP building is situated in a mid-density residential neighborhood of Asuncion, a heavily wooded area with significant topography level changes.
The city occupies its spaces by redoing and reinventing uses, consolidating those where the collective memory is fixed, and giving a new meaning to those that have lost their original character. For centuries, The Catholic Church has been responsible for the city and its spaces. The opportunity for a new building in Parque Seminario allows us to think about new relationships, sites, and unique spaces.
Today's social dynamics and customs drive to regain public spaces, recovering places for social interaction and collective memory. To re-think these spaces is to re-think this area of the city.
We envisioned a project that extends from the public realm to the park and the city, introducing the public scene into its interior. The central theme of our project is the "Public Space" or the act of building "this" Public Space, as a metaphor of a new society with a welcoming and participative Church that opens its spaces to embrace its community.


Analyzing the space type and the program's users led us to define an intermediate public datum, utilizing site topography to our advantage. This datum level extends from Parque Seminario, providing a social place for interaction articulating connections to several programs, one above, one below, one public, and one private.
The plaza articulates the project on several levels. Below the plaza, in contact with the ground, we have the CEP administrative programs, the Assembly, and the Oratory. Above the plaza, we located the private programs such as dormitory for Bishops and Laymen. The plaza becomes a gift to public life given by the Church, an open and permeable space straddling between the upper and lower volumes, building human interaction opportunities.
The lower volume is a cloister, a system of galleries reminiscent of historic convents, with programs revolving around a courtyard. In it, two shapes are distinct, the Assembly and the Oratory. One space is for the debate, and the other for the most profound spiritual retreat: praying.
The upper volume is a hostel for Bishops and their guests directly connected to tree canopies. This volume elevates over the plaza creating shelter to the entrances below. The layout of this massing is a double-loaded corridor with cells on both sides and special programs as bookends, such as a Living room, Dining room, Library, and a Chapel that opens up to the tree grove.
The materiality is concrete, brick, and stone masonry used according to its capabilities and expression, emphasizing austerity and structural compromise.

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