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CARMELITE CONVENT

Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico

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The community of Carmelites are completely cloistered (de clausura) within their convent. The requirements state that there must be communication only through an exterior convent.
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The previous cloister in Santurce located at the corner of San Jorge and San Mateo Streets, was obsolete and lacked privacy as there are condominiums rising in the vicinity. They needed a secluded hilltop in the country where they could carry on their cloistered life in retreat.






Photo by Stephen & Gil Amiaga

 

The convent was planned for a community of 52 nuns. Since they never leave the cloister, the interior houses facilities similar to those of a small city, such as an infirmary, laundry, instruction rooms, administration, chapels and library.






Photo by Stephen & Gil Amiaga

The design of the convent was based on a 10’-0” module, the emphasis being a strong horizontal mass sitting on top of the hill. This mass is accentuated by towers and other vertical elements. The tallest is a bell tower rising to 140’-0” in height. Since the convent is completely enclosed, the exterior wall, or muralla, becomes the major architectural mass. The interior is designed on three levels with many spatial variations, thus breaking the monotony of a rigid daily life.

Photo by Stephen & Gil Amiaga

The design of the convent was based on a 10’-0” module, the emphasis being a strong horizontal mass sitting on top of the hill. This mass is accentuated by towers and other vertical elements. The tallest is a bell tower rising to 140’-0” in height. Since the convent is completely enclosed, the exterior wall, or muralla, becomes the major architectural mass. The interior is designed on three levels with many spatial variations, thus breaking the monotony of a rigid daily life.
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Photo by Stephen & Gil Amiaga

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