LocationEngelsova ulica 66, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
Dans arhitekti teamRok Bogataj, Miha Dešman, Eva Fišer Berlot, Vlatka Ljubanović, Katarina Pirkmajer Dešman
ClientThe Salesians in Slovenia
From the architect. The Don Bosco Church is part of a new parish centre, located in a residential quarter of Maribor, under the Pohorje Massif. The site boasts a view towards the Pekrska Gorca Mountain.
The Religious Complex belonging to the Salesian community is designed as a closed building island, placed inside a small park, which protects the complex of two nearby roads. The building itself is a clearly articulated rectangular architectural mass with an introverted central courtyard with the nave and the bell tower rising above it. Upon entering the contemplative courtyard adorned by an old linden tree the church suddenly becomes visible across the portico. At a glance one can feel the extent of the nave from the ground over the roof of the lower part of the complex all the way to the cornice that represents a crown. The volume of the nave is set into the structure of the lower one story building. Its uniform brick facade is embellished with ornaments representing seven crosses made of glazed bricks.
The shape of the nave is derived from a triangle with rounded corners and sides. The nave is the place for introverted contemplation therefore the only view out is towards the sky. The most sacred place is thus marked by an intense experience of light. We used different qualities of light in order to accentuate the hugging shape of the nave. We choreographed a play of light: vivid natural light emitting from the round skylight interferes with diffused light of the nave. More soft natural light is coming from behind the presbytery and the rear choir. This simple yet so complex design allows the building to transcend its physical presence, becoming a mere container of light.
Pristine non-decorated expression of the structure of the nave is accentuated by plasticity of softly shaped concrete. The oval perimeter of the nave features horizontal lateral recesses, which house the chapel with the tabernacle, entrance to the sacristy, confessionals, side and rear choirs and a place for communion prayers. These openings induce a feeling of peaceful rotation around the central oculus.
The church seats 300 people on wooden benches. The floor below is covered massive oak wood floor while 100 handmade clay lamps form the horizon above. Warm materials such as oak wood fittings and clay lamps create a feeling of safe haven for the church community. We also designed all the liturgical equipment, such as the altar, the ambo, the tabernacle, sedilia, benches and layout of the artworks.
Tabernacle, placed in the side chapel, is a triptych with outer wings veiling the central cabinet. The tabernacle opens in two sequential steps: when the wings are closed, they reveal a floating gold rectangle. Upon opening the two side wings the interior with the mysterious light source – the eternal light - is revealed. The inner tabernacle is adorned with a precious icon – former tabernacle doors from the Basilica of Our Lady Help of Christians, in Turin, which was built by John Bosco.