Completed Project

Las Calatravas Church

Madrid, Spain


The Church of the Concepción Real de Calatrava was built in the historic center of Madrid in the late 17th century by Fray Lorenzo de San Nicolás, an Augustinian monk and accomplished architect. The church has the earliest dome constructed with the encamonado technique, which consists of a wood structure with a brick infill, a technique that continued to be used in Madrid until the early 20th century. The façade was designed later by Juan de Madrazo y Kuntz. José de Lara Churriguera built the main altar and two smaller side altars in the interior of the church.

How We Helped

In 2003, WMF, in collaboration with the City of Madrid and the Fundación Caja Madrid, began a conservation project to restore the finial, spire, small cupola, lantern, main dome, and pinnacles. The work included structural stabilization, slate roofing restoration, crack repair, hardware replacement, glazing, cleaning, window restoration, and lead work.

Why It Matters

The church is the only remaining structure of the convent of the Order of Calatrava, for the rest of the complex was demolished by the religious property privatization act in 1870. Not only is the church the last surviving building of the original convent complex, but the encamonado technique used to make the dome was also the first demonstration of this design for a dome and is now preserved as one of the earliest examples of this innovative architectural practice.

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