Italian architecture firm Mario Cucinella Architects was commissioned to design the new Santa Maria Goretti Church, sited at the edge of the hilltop town of Mormanno, in the heart of the Pollino National Park, southern Italy.
Informed by Calabria’s austere byzantine churches, such as the UNESCO-inscribed Cattolica Monastery in Stilo, the church is composed of four white concrete apses, which generate a distinct flowing shape. The rest of the church exterior is characterized by a few essential elements including a subtle entrance opening, an illuminated cross, and engraved words relating to the life of saint Maria Goretti.
"We wanted to create a contemporary building that expresses a strong sense of continuity as we felt for a church, in particular, this sense of connection is important." — Mario Cucinella
The minimal exterior gives way to a surprising interior filled with translucent fabric hung from the 16-meter-high ceiling in the form of curvaceous drapes. This ethereal design element continues the flowing form of the architecture while filtering soft light down into the worshipping space.
"Our design for Santa Maria Goretti is serene and monolithic and looks at local precedents of Calabrian ecclesiastical architecture, but also natural forms in a way that is perhaps primeval or timeless," — Mario Cucinella