Eladio Dieste was a Uruguayan engineer and architect who’s particular innovation was his Gaussian vault made with a thin-shell structure for roofs in single-thickness brick. Dieste combined his architectural and engineer training to create beautiful architecture using a thin structure that derives its stiffness and strength from a double curvature catenary arch form that resists buckling failure.
My favorite building of his is the 1950’s Church of Christ the Worker and Our Lady of Lourdes located in Estación Atlántida, Uruguay. This renowned architectural landmark is architecturally striking, and described as “a simple rectangle, with side walls rising up in undulating curves to the maximum amplitude of their arcs”; the material is a very simple brickwork, which conforms an interesting reinforced ceramics structure.
The beauty of this building is the simplicity and honesty of the materials.
Floors, walls, ceilings are all brick. It was originally devoid of any artificial light and all light would come from colored glass on the walls and from one window in the ceiling. The art was in combining different types of bricks in patterns that create a design. Undulating exterior walls with an undulating roof creates a surreal feeling when sitting inside the church.
You can feel the hand of God in every detail and that alone helped me elevate myself spiritually.
Moreover, this building did not use expensive materials but it surely had a VERY involved architect who directed great masons who showed their craftmanship in every wall, window, step in this Church.
Look at the bell tower detail; I still can’t figure out how he attached those steps to the tower and how did he get a step built with 6 pieces of small brick!