1926 - 2013
While working at the office of ‘devastated regions’ of Córdoba, the recent graduate Francisco Coello de Portugal felt his religious calling and decided to join the Dominican order. He was aware that the transition from civil to religious life would mean setting architecture aside for good, but in his case the saying that goes ‘the Lord works in mysterious ways’ proved to be right when the provincial of the Dominican order asked him to take on the project to build a seminar and a convent in León. This was the beginning of one of the most extraordinary religious building’s in the 20th century in Spain, the Virgen del Camino sanctuary, which he completed in 1961, and which served to remind his superiors that architecture can be a way of honoring God. In 1964 Fray Coello opened a studio in the Madrid convent of Santo Domingo, and since then he continued to practice architecture, completing more than 300 buildings, including student residences, churches, and even a cathedral – that of Taipei. They are works with a different architectural value, but which always unsuspectedly combine catholic devotion and respect for the vocabulary of rationalist modernity.