San Giovanni Bosco parish centre - Treviolo (Bergamo)

Inclusive education

The new San Giovanni Bosco parish centre in Treviolo is built on principles of openness, inclusion and participation
Virginio Briatore
Paola Corsi & Pasquale Gandolfi - Arch.e' Srl

Educating young people in an inclusive, warm and friendly environment is a concept that is taken for granted in today’s world where sociologists and business leaders love to talk of „edutainment“, but it is worth remembering that the person who first widely espoused these principles in the mid-19th century was nothing short of a visionary. In the protoindustrial society of Turin, the priest Don Giovanni Bosco was well aware of just how many young people found themselves on the margins of society without access to education. He understood that to engage and educate them it was necessary to create sheltered, unthreatening spaces where they would be welcomed into a homelike environment and taught about all aspects of life, including culture, theatre, music, sports and leisure. These needed to be open meeting spaces, a cross between a church, school and theatre, but above all places that would welcome young people fron all backgrounds.
These issues are as timely as ever today and have been addressed with skill and practicality in the new Treviolo parish centre in the province of Bergamo, opened in September 2016.
Named after San Giovanni Bosco, the parish centre has been completely renovated and transformed into a participatory meeting place equipped with contemporary technologies.
The fact that the architect commissioned to carry out this project with its strong focus on inclusion and nurturing is a woman, Paola Corsi, further underscores the vision and foresight of the client, the Parish of San Giorgio Martire.
In her inauguration speech, Paola Corsi mentioned a few of the key points of the project: „To create a connection between the new building and the existing fabric of the old town centre, it was decided that pedestrian access to the new structure would be via the existing arcade. This would have the added benefit of making the church square the centre of the social life of the community.
„The main entrance located at the centre of the arcade leads to the games room, envisaged as a connecting element between the various functions of the building. This room interacts constantly with the exterior spaces and outdoor play areas through large windows. Special attention has been focused on the complete renovation of the old stable building, which now serves as a common area while maintaining its original architectural design in terms of both openings and materials.
„It functions as a multipurpose room seating up to eighty people and is available for use by the entire community. It is completely independent from the spaces of the parish centre and has direct access from the arcade.“
The concept is based on inclusion and openness. The fact that the main rooms open physically onto the town’s central square means that anyone is welcome to enter and join the rest of the community. All the main functions of the parish centre overlook the square, which is also conceived as a connecting element between the games room and the exterior play areas, consisting of a synthetic turf football pitch, a resin floor basketball and volleyball court and several play areas with games for teenagers and children as young as 2 to 3.
The games room, bar, infirmary, dining room and kitchen all face onto this inner square.
To cater for use by children of different ages, a functional and attractive floor covering was required. Tiles from Cerim brand, renowned for its blend of simplicity and design appeal, were chosen for the internal spaces and the large external courtyard.
Don Giovanni Bosco the visionary would certainly smile if he were able to see the children playing and learning in the spaces of the new parish centre.

Material Stones, Maps, Rethink
material 07, light grey, dark grey
60x60, 60x120 cm

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