Massimo Lepore, Raul Pantaleo, Simone Sfriso | TAMassociati
The Resurrection of Our Lord church and parish complex in Varignano, a historically working-class neighbourhood of Viareggio, was the result of an invitation-only design competition organised by the Archdiocese of Lucca and won by the award-winning Venice-based practice TAMassociati (Massimo Lepore, Raul Pantaleo and Simone Sfriso). It is part of the «Percorsi Diocesani» («Diocesan Paths») initiative launched in 2014 by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) to support three dioceses in their efforts to plan, design and build three new church complexes with high-quality architecture. The initiative marks the continuation of the so-called «Pilot Projects» scheme organised by the CEI over the past 20 years, an innovative cultural operation that has promoted numerous design competitions over the course of its six editions.
The winning projects enshrine the goals of the Percorsi Diocesani, namely to propose new and contemporary ways of spreading the gospel together with good architecture and the multiple aspects of sustainability.
The Viareggio project achieves all of this, adopting the simplicity of forms, volumes, colours and materials typical of a practice that has founded its design philosophy on the concept of «Taking care in architecture» with ethics and commitment.
The project was launched in 2019 to replace the previous «green church», so named after the colour of the original building, and saw the participation of liturgist Alessandro Toniolo and artist Marcello Chiarenza, who was commissioned to create works of art steeped in symbolism. Through a participatory process involving the local community, a number of elements from the existing church were restored and incorporated into the project, including the original entrance portal created by artist Franco Anichini.
Adopting a simple, direct and minimalist language, the project includes a liturgical hall, a rectory and catechetical and meeting spaces as part of a compact, closed white volume. The belltower is located in the external churchyard. Inside, the functional areas are clearly separated but at the same time connected by a courtyard that remains invisible from the outside.
The liturgical hall is a single room with minimalist decoration, flooded with zenithal light entering through a flat shed roof. The space is dominated by white, grey stone and warm wood tones that enhance the visual impact of the 13×4.5 metre stained-glass window behind the altar, which with its intense, iridescent blue colour pays homage to Giotto’s frescoes in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua.
Sustainability was a key requirement of the call for tenders and is the underlying principle of a building whose structural aspects were designed by the engineering firm Milan Ingegneria, which opted for a high-performance X-Lam wood solution to create a load-bearing and insulated shell within a very short timeframe. A 27 kW photovoltaic array concealed in the roof powers a heat pump for heating and cooling and generates electricity.
The decision to use Italian ceramic tiles for the indoor and outdoor flooring also reflects the importance of quality and sustainability. The tile collections produced by Casalgrande Padana were chosen due to their almost exclusive use of local design and production processes.
The architects opted for the warm tones of the Pietre di Sardegna collection — Caprera, Cala Luna and Molara — installed alongside a restored section of the flooring of the previous church. The new church not only stands out for its architectural value but, by fully espousing TAMassociati’s ethos and philosophy, is intended to be one of the drivers of renewal for a neighbourhood badly in need of regeneration. «The liturgical hall, the rectory, the catechetical rooms, the study, play and meeting areas for associations and communities, the green spaces, the churchyard and the new bell tower are the cornerstones of a process of urban renewal in a historically difficult area of the city,» explain the architects. «This is one of the challenges of architecture, which has the duty to make the new complex a fertile terrain and a driver of renewal and social regeneration.»
Casalgrande Padana, Pietre di Sardegna
30x60, 90x90, 60x120 cm
Caprera, Cala Luna, Punta Molara
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0.1 %
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 150 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): 50-60 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10