VACANTE Bench in the new chapel of Augustinian College
The Augustinian College in Valencia (Spain) has relied on the VACANTE Bench, designed by Enric Miralles, to equip its renovated chapel. The place of worship maintains the altar, the tabernacle and the stained glass windows of the old chapel, but the restoration has been used to incorporate "more functional benches". Specifically, 26 VACANTE Benches OX selfstanding in Natural Beech have been installed.
The school management found that the VACANTE Bench was the best fit for the newly renovated worship space. The choice was based on both aesthetic criteria, mainly because of the "visual lightness" of the bench, and functional criteria. The objective is clear: to update the sacred and familiar place for the pupils to begin the journey of the Christian faith professed by the school.
The building, designed by the architect Gonzalo Cárdenas and built in 1953, has an exposed brick façade and a small artificial stone surround. The aim is to achieve "harmony between the proportion of the opening and the massif in the goodness of the materials and in the care of the labour and the bonds", as stated in the project report. The search for straight lines shows an evolution towards a less historicist architecture.
This is not the only religious facility that the VACANTE Bench has equipped. The Church of Santa Clara in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain) and the Royal Monastery of Santa Catalina de Siena in Paterna (Spain) have also relied on it. These are facilities that together with funeral homes, passenger terminals and hospitals show the versatility of this timeless design.