New Church in Foligno – Doriana e Massimiliano Fuksas

Friday 24 April at 11 a.m. will be presented the new Church in Foligno, based on plans by Architects Massimiliano and Doriana .

Architects: Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas
Site: Foligno, Italy
Client: Conferenza Episcopale Italiana – Diocesi di Foligno
Total area: 20,690 sqm
Building area: 610 sqm
Parish complex: 1,300 sqm
Structure: Ing. Gilberto Sarti
Service: A.I. Engineering
Artists: Enzo Cucchi, Mimmo Paladino
General contractor: Ediltecnica spa
Stone furniture FUKSAS DESIGN: Scalpellino Maurizio Volpi
Wood furniture FUKSAS DESIGN: Falegnameria Bertini
Lighting FUKSAS DESIGN: Iguzzini illuminazione
Project Year: 2001-2009
Photographs: Moreno Maggi

The project was won in 2001 after a national competition organized by the Conferenza Episcopale Italiana for the construction of new churches, the jury gave the following reasons for choosing, “as a sign of innovation that meets the latest international research, becoming a symbol of rebirth for the city after the earthquake. ”

The new parish designed by Fuksas Architects, is a monolith of pure geometry, absolute, in a tiny box. There are two main architectural elements that are identified with the functions of the religious center, the first element, the Church building, consists of two rectangules inserted into one another, the second element, also rectangular shape but long and low, is home to the Sacristy, the Pastoral Ministry of Local and Casa Canonica. A third an architectural element, smaller, combining the latter two. Spirituality and meditation joined together in a play of natural light entering horizontally and vertically, drawing a dialogue with the sky.

“The suspension of a volume within another. Seeing through heaven, from outside, to inside, to outside”
Massimiliano Fuksas

Enzo Cucchi, prepared for the outside of the church sculpture “Stele-Cross” in cement and white marble from Carrara. A tall totem 13.50 meter itself becomes architectural element. Mimmo Paladino created the 14 Stations of the Cross and Fuksas Design designed furniture and lighting.

At the presentation of the Church, on the initiative and the City and Diocese of Foligno, and the organization of OICOS REFLECTIONS, will be held on April 24-26, 2009, the event “In the sacred architecture – Three days with the architecture of Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas “.

Cite: "New Church in Foligno – Doriana e Massimiliano Fuksas" 21 Apr 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • brandon pass

    I think Mr. Fuksas pulled it off here. A strong and clear form as a powerful symbol. The ‘slashes’ in the box may be a bit much and the altar elements seem pretty unresolved but overall I think it seems like a great space, well proportioned and awe inspiring for the parishioners. Interesting to contrast this inner sanctum to that of the picture room in the Yad Vashem by Moshe Safdie in terms of culture, memory, form and detail. I urge everyone to check that project out too.

  • Vainius

    Il grande progetto! Forma semplice ma anche straordinaria!

  • Gustav Z

    Nice space and a powerful volume but the hanging box is a bit intimidating which can be fine sometimes but in a church? it reminds me a little too much of the dark ages…

  • brandon pass

    I think that the hanging box is precisely what makes the building work. Its why the churches of the Dark ages worked as well. Its a reminder of the fragility of life and the power of form. Not the building “form” but form in the sense that Eliel Saarinen described to us…form is idea, is concept, is consciousness. it is greater than any physical entity. (The Search For Form In Art and Architecture). If you remove the hanging box, what is left that makes it any different than a museum? I’m not a religious man, but I believe in the power of form; architecturally and metaphysically and believe this building gets at that pretty effectively. it stirs and draws awareness to ones own existence.

  • greg

    very cold building

  • brandon pass

    Great comment “brandon pass” I gotta read the book (the search for form in art and architecture)

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  • brandon pass

    Hark!!!! someone is poaching my name! for the record: I would never self aggrandize myself like that. Yikes! (two comments above)

  • jlbr

    Grey, big, empty and just plain scary… the catholic church has supposedly tried to make their design ideals for churches more intimate and cozy, or at least that is what I understood from the resolutions of the 2nd Vatican council. This is just the opposite. It’s like the church, or the parish, bishopry, or whoever ordered this work, just wants to go backwards.

    Fuksas and wife, me not like their work, too pretentious.

  • Opium

    jlbr forgett about 2nd vatican council and what the church wants…This is a good project…and im not a fan o fukssas…but this one works very well…the suspended box should be different nevertheless..the material..the colour…

  • jlbr

    call me heathen, I like my temples more cozy and warm…
    that and i like to complain, ok?

  • Nuno

    O projecto de igrejas não é fácil e não têm surgido bons exemplos.

    The churchs project is not easy and there aren´t good exemples.

  • Arman

    This could be so much more… to me, it looks like a concept that jumped out of the paper too underdeveloped, too soon… a good starting point for something a lot better.

  • aa4

    while i can appreciate the beauty and simplicity of the form.. i yet have to see God and the church community in here… perhaps once they actually put pews in the space it will feel more like the house of God it was intended to be. As a matter of fact, it’s really hard to get a very good sense of the space from these few images.

  • cado

    the building it plastically beautiful , but I think as a church is cold, distant and not awaken some sense of spirituality

  • Juan

    this is very dificult to clean… and I agree with the previous post…

    I think… this looks like a space-model.

    mucha estructura, espacio y volumen, para tan poco… me parece un proyecto caprichoso, formalista y frivolo.

  • frankenstein

    For the record, The Church is not a building.

    Nonetheless, the space seems compelling and evocative. It’d be great as a gallery space (as alluded to above) or as a place for an all night rave, but as a setting for the Word and Sacrament? I am not particularly convinced, but since photos cannot do justice to this work I cannot be too heavy-handed in this view.

    But frankly, what is this nonsense about “Spirituality and meditation joined together in a play of natural light entering horizontally and vertically, drawing a dialogue with the sky”??? It is more than presumptuous to relate the physical to non-material/supernatural expressions. And “Seeing through concrete heaven…”??? There is always a danger in forms taking the place of what they are meant to represent (which makes the injunction against idols understandable), but are we really seeing heaven or anything close to it here? Maybe the architect means “the heavens,” but simply saying “the sky” would say enough without saying too much. The material/spiritual muddle in most writing relating to church architecture seems to be unavoidable, particularly when the writing is done by persons outside the Christian faith (but to be fair, I am not sure if that is the case here). Other elements, wholly out of place in Christian belief and tradition (reference to “stele” and “totem” for example) make the rounds effortlessly. The thought seems to be that symbols with any religious significance at all must be more or less interchangeable regardless of origin or connotation. The temptation to read into a sunbeam dancing on a piece of concrete just seems to be too much for most architectural writers to resist.

    Ditto on the out of place references above (“awe inspiring,” “inner sanctum,” “house of God,”). Again, the Church is not a building and God doesn’t need a roof over His head to keep the rain out like we do. Concrete, glass and white Carrara marble are not and cannot be sacred or holy. Unfortunately designers simply try to say too much, and say it too often.

    I apologize if this post simply seems like a gripe session. It’s just that the preconceptions about the Church (the people, the Body, the Bride etc…) itself and its relationship to the structure that often houses some of its functions (the church building) are often wildly confused. There was a Church before there were churches and if every church in the world was demolished, brick by brick and stone by stone, the Church would not cease to exist. I think this would be a much more useful place to start rather than with the trite assumptions about physical form and metaphysics.


    • Jesustein

      trying to defeat subjective philosophy with even more subjective philosophy doesn’t work. your idea remains in your mind and nothing of yours gets built frankenstein, and i’m okay with that.. lol

      • frankenstein

        Yes, being a critic is the easiest thing in the world, but as you will notice from my original post, I was not very critical of the built structure itself (one may even consider the terms “compelling” and “evocative” rather complimentary). I was much more focused on what was written about it. That is where the “subjective philosophy” as you call it (accurately, I might add) comes into play, but not by me. My perspective on the Church (not a building, but the Body of Believers), is not subjective, but rather based on the clear teachings of Scripture (which I would guess you might claim are also subjective, but I would disagree – but that’s another thread altogether). In any case, the history of all of humanistic philosophy is a series of one subjective rant countered by another subjective rant, so I would say this paradigm does “work,” in that it is all there is (again, from a humanistic perspective). What is the humanistic alternative? Although I was once an avid proponent, I now reject humanism, so I am not bound by that system any longer. I can comment freely (and thanks for your comment BTW). And for the record, my stuff does get built. It just happens to focus on telecommunications structures like monopoles, lattice towers and the occasional church steeple (!). While I have a background in architecture, I now work as a licensed civil engineer (shh… don’t tell the other posters or they’ll tease me). I hope lots of your stuff gets built – I’d be OK with that. Just let the building do the talking (so to speak) and don’t let any architectural magazine editors make any comments! :-]

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  • ron

    this is a very significant definition of what architecture and character.

  • corto

    so, is architecture only a large-scaled art installment or a sculpture which you can get inside?

    I think what you may experience inside this building is very subjective and already defined by the architect which makes it poor in sense of inner atmosphere.

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  • titisnurabadi

    awesome!!the space…the proportion…i enjoy it!

  • thebill_X7

    Great, but the local people hate it. This doesn’t look like a church, it doesn’t have that special thing. It’s looks like Polish commie train stations from the 80′s.

    • Lord Kedaar

      I agree with thebill_X7. I live in Poland, in awful Warsaw, where we have plenty disgusting public buildings like that “church”…

      • thebill_X7

        Amen. It’s sad in Warsaw – the Germans destroyed her, the commies rebuilt her in their manner. I live in Poznan – our old town has been rebuilt to resemble not only the pre-war conditions, but even some of the buildings found in Poznan’s panorama from “Civitates Orbis Terrarum” from the early 17th century.

  • historyk

    Very ugly, cold and last but not least, without spirit. Good place for a supermarket but I can’t feel God’s presence there.Sad building.Sad times.

  • allison

    Abominable. Shd be torn down. Who commissioned ‘this’? Message is “Wake up and die.” Where is Foligno?

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