Biennale-Sessions_2018/6-8JUL: SAN PIO X – A SOCIAL SANCTUARY

July 5th, 2018

Two themes intertwined in this project are creating a social gathering space, at the same time embodying a sacred sanctuary. The space has to enable a certain religious community, as well as anyone from the outside to feel welcome, to communicate and interact.

The golden ratio and the shape of the Nautilus shell were chosen as primary symbols at the concept stage of the project. Starting from the centre, which is ourselves and our belief, the ideas and experiences shared, widening the circle – like the shape above. The sacred geometry forms depict how nature and mathematics work together to create complex yet functioning structures and this is what we believe in.

When analysing the context of the area, it showed a neighbourhood of mixed use. The building site of the church marks a midpoint between a university campus and a residential use zone. Having the definition of a gathering space, the project had to promote continuity on multiple design levels. It features a parvis leading to a tennis court in the backyard of the church, both aligned to a pathway connecting the main street and the pedestrian zone. This pathway is narrow enough so that people would have to consciously choose to pass through there instead of being attracted there. Its narrowness also shows hierarchy between it and the wide passage/piazza (via AM Ampere).

Part of the necessary functions are found on the ground floor. The liturgy hall hosting 450 seats, with a double altar and an organ instrument. It is designed in a way that the construction system of columns and beams holding the glass roof create continuity in space when seen in perspective. There are two smaller chapels and a baptistry as welL. In the other building there is the cafeteria and vertical communications.

The structural system consists of steel construction and reinforced concrete. The materials are also used in a symbolical way where they represent the ‘holy trinity’. The reinforced concrete load bearing envelope as the Father; Continuous beams and roof support of steel as the Son; And flushed glazed roof of glass as The Holy Spirit. Also attention was payed to the symmetry of facades since it creates a sense of harmony.

Comments are closed.