Church and Parochial Complex

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Located on the outskirts of Rome, the "Complesso Parrocchiale Dedicato Alla Beata Teresa di Calcutta" is a church complex consisting of liturgical, educational, community and residential facilities. The project is grounded in subtle manipulations of the floor plane that simultaneously provide for a fluid continuity of space between the main components of the church as well as their spatial independence. While the nave remains the central element of the church and slopes down to meet a raised presbytery, the daily chapel raises a few steps above it to enhance the view of the altar. An adjacent baptistery descends to the lowest level to enhance the experience of immersing oneself in the depth of the baptismal waters. The location of the baptistery corresponds to the site's natural topography, and may be accessed from an independent entrance via a small garden where congregates may gather before the ceremony. While the baptistery is not positioned as an independent building in accordance with historical traditions, it nevertheless maintains a strong spatial identity to recall the ancient practice of prohibiting non-baptized catechumens from entering the church. Once baptized, a stepped ramp leading from the baptistery allows for a symbolic ascent to the main space of the church.

The central nave of the church-a perfect square-is marked by a suspended "cube" above that allows for the physical and visual continuity of the spaces, and allows for maximum seating capacity during special events. The cube is further accentuated by a concealed skylight at its perimeter that allows for a convex, spherical ceiling to "float" within. The congregation is oriented towards the extraordinary view of the landscape of Tivoli beyond, which provides a stunning backdrop for the presbytery. This relationship speaks to the strong connection between faith, the liturgy, nature and reason. The auxiliary functions of the complex are arranged within two bars that flank the church on its east and west sides. The diverse programs that they contain are organized around four main open spaces, each with a specific size and character.

Year: 2007
The Vatican
Rome, Italy

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