Mario Botto Architetto's Church connects with industrial roots
The building has a heptagonal plan surrounded by seven towers to which are connected the lower bodies of the chapels. Thanks to the truncated apex both the towers and the chapels function as skylights. The choice of the heptagonal plan, that coincides with the strong religious and symbolic meaning, orients the main axis of the church towards the city. The new parish complex gathers all the services once spread all over the city. Below the church main hall there is a hypogeal congress hall. Inside the other bodies of the building, in addition to offices and apartments, there is a ferial chapel, a parsonage and other facilities for the youth formation and recreation. These linear three-storey buildings contain the parvis. From the one side it visually reminds the industrial roots of the place, from the other it supports the cross. Surrounded by a helical steel structure with thin sheets that recall “thorns”, the chimney gleams by day and by night and the cross is set on top of its 60 metres. The small bells are inserted in a rectangular frame at the bottom of the chimney in correspondence with the main entrance. The void created by the pyramid-shaped cover is formed by the alternation of full and void gores that turn around the central drum acting as pivot. The towers, emptied to work as skylights, stand in the centre on the suspended cylinder whereas, perimetrically, stand on a couple of pillars. The architect was also required to introduce an element displaying the Christ’s Sindon at the back of the altar. Working on computer through a binary image formed by black and white pixels, Mario Botta and his collaborators reshaped the sacred shroud by means of a wise stone fabric: little bricks “red Verona” marble were worked with two different shapes and mounted in such a way as to create a shade and a flat side to reflect the light. The result shows the face of Christ materializing through the effect of the grazing light from above.