10.21.2011

Feature Friday: Recycled Church, Madrid, Spain

What would you say if a farmer-turned-monk told you that he was going to build a church - a big one - in Spain out of completely recycled and damaged materials? Oh and did I mention, he has no formal training, engineer plans or drawings? Well, that's exactly what has happened. A monk became extremely ill and weak with tuberculosis and was forced to leave the monastery.  During this terminal time, he prayed to Lady of The Pillar and promised himself that if he ever got better he would build a church dedicated to her. With no architectural training or plans, this man, Don Justo, began building a church loosely based on St. Peter's Cathedral out of completely recycled materials.

86 years old, Justo Gallego, who goes by Don Justo (pictured above) is the mastermind of this recycled holy center. With the help of donations and using his own money and property to fund this project, he has dedicated over 50 years of his life to building this church. Don Justo says that the plans and drawings for the church are in his head. He has had people harass him, saying that he is crazy but that doesn't stop him for a second. A visitor stopped by 20 years ago to see the church and has been helping Don Justo complete his dream ever since. 
The concrete columns of the church have been molded around old oil drums.

A fan of paint buckets crown the top of the salvaged brick towers.


Don Justo collected flawed and rejected bricks and tiles from local factories to create the walls of the church.




The church has not yet received permits or licensing. It's proving difficult since the bricks used are not meeting the standard requirements nor have they been laid to proper standards. Don Justo is hoping that the church will someday be used as the local parish church. 

Despite your faith beliefs, you have to admire this man's dedication and perseverance. In a BBC News article, he was quoted saying, "If I lived my life again, I'd build this church again, only bigger. Twice the size," he smiles, his elderly eyes sparkling. Because for me, this is an act of faith."




Source: Inhabitat/Aloe Variegata/ BBC News

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