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The project navigates from a pandemic response to typological poesis in Catholicism, basing on the fact that religion as a structure holds key importance in society, this project is weaving a narrative through the morphology of religious structure, urban spaces, healthcare and memory. Coronavirus continues to affect lives, necessitating to build testing centers across the globe, our design took a highly humanist approach, for we believe testing should and will continue to be a part of our daily life for the unknown duration of time until the pandemic is over. To work on the aspect of timelessness we decided to look into historical aspects of Catholicism and its relation to urban life. Responding to the global phenomenon coronavirus has brought and to the universal belief of Catholicism that exists in many parts of this world, we decided to create replicable and scalable plans. We took Catholicism as a basis for our research to build our project on, because we believed that Catholicism and it’s sacred spaces have a universal impact and design that we could navigate through design.
We researched Catholic Church plan to find its universal, dynamic geometric patterns. Taking advantage of the universal typology shared by all Catholic churches, we came up with spatial configurations that could fit into any plaza that sits in front of a Catholic church. We also understood how varied architecture elements in church like lavabo and cloister fermented over time. From this, we decided that our intervention should also be something that transform itself while responding to the great need of the time with a careful attention to the meaning of permanence.
Permanence has different connotations but with our project we understood that permanence is about fermentation and change rather that sameness and it extends over centuries in different forms. When the pandemic is over, the testing center becomes a memorial upon revelation of the voids initially created for the structural stability of the testing booths and for the utility purposes, in order to commemorate the countless deaths as well as the human efforts that we collectively dedicated to fight the pandemic. Void memorials, we believe, are appropriate to embody all the mixed feelings we have towards COVID-19 and will become a place for interaction and reflection. It embodies the void we all feel in our hearts, it is anti-monumental and anti-architectural, it is a metaphor of nothingness juxtaposed with physical manifestation. As the memory related to pandemic fades out, though it may take a century or so, the memorials will lose its original function. The spaces decay over time and ruins exists as an unknown memory of past a physical attribute of bygone time. The original function may be forgotten, but it will forever be remembered as a church typology created in 2020 due to COVID-19 crisis. It will no longer be a place of sorrow, yet the memory of the pandemic will physically and architecturally be remembered as a new typology until and even after the space becomes a ruin
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