In 2011 the Italian Episcopal Conference (IEC) launched a competition for the pilot projects of three churches, one of which was to be built in Mormanno (Cosenza). The winning project was signed by architect Mario Cucinella in collaboration with Giuseppe Maraniello for the artistic elements and Don Amilcare Zuffi for the liturgical details. The initiative is part of a major operation undertaken by the Italian Church, aimed at promoting the quality of its architecture. To achieve this objective, the IEC has been announcing similar competitions since 1998, all of which have been organised according to a precise formula adopted for six editions – the latest one of which took place in 2012.
The call for proposals aimed to chose the design for the church and the parish complex, which was developed in two parts by the winning project: a plate made up of different volumes around a patio on the one hand and the church building emerging as a unique architectural volume on the other. The first block will be built using traditional building techniques, with reinforced concrete frames and slabs, and plastered brick masonry infill. The central part around the courtyard will serve as windbracing with partition walls in reinforced concrete. The building will have a cultivated green roof.
Common areas, which are organised around the courtyard, are characterised by large glass walls with a view over the valley; the quality of the window and door fixtures will be a crucial factor to ensure a high level of architectural quality.
The church building will feature visible reinforced concrete walls covered with laminated wood. The exterior finish and the joints will have to be accurately considered, in order for the end result to match up to the value such a symbolic place. Thermal insulation will be obtained by including an insulating layer inside the reinforced concrete walls.
Instead of constructing a bell tower, bells will be embedded in one of the church walls, hidden by a masonry wall. Maintenance works will be made possible thanks to a staircase to the roof.
From a distribution point of view, the Church will be made up of a central hall and several side chapels hosting different liturgical poles, while staff areas will be located between the two partition walls.
The buildings have been designed according to passive energy saving principles to allow natural ventilation and light inside and minimise the use of mechanical equipment.
The church will be highly insulated in order to minimise heat losses; this enabled to obtain the energy class A certification. The parish complex is expected to obtain the energy class B certification.
Photo credits: Mario Cucinella Architects