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Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

© Michel Denancé © Michel Denancé © Gianni Berengo Gardin © Vittorio Grassi + 20

San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy
  • Structure: Favero & Milan
  • Services: Manens Intertecnica
  • Acoustics: Müller BBM
  • Cost Consultants: Austin Italia
  • Fire Prevention: Tecnocons + C.Manfreddo
  • Planting: E.Trabella
  • Urban Planning: Studio Ambiente
  • Lithurgical Advisor: lithurgical advisor
  • Roof Drainage System: HR Wallingford
  • Lighting: P.Castiglioni
  • Graphic Design: F. Origoni
  • Stone Consultant: D.Lagazzi
  • Timber Consultant: N.Albertani
  • Art Consultant: M.Codognato
  • Site Supervision: G. Muciaccia
  • Client: Provincia dei Frati Minori Cappuccini di Foggia
  • General Contractor: FABBRICA DELLA CHIESA s.c.a.r.l (P.Ciuffreda President, A.Paranzino, P.Capocasale, G.Capocasale, M.Corona with E.Ciuffreda, A.Guarino, O.Tibaldi, R.Capocasale, S.Marro, M.Binetti, A.Farano)
  • Arnaldo Pomodoro: Bronze cross hanging over the Altar Stone and bronze church altar
  • Mrs Giovanna Canegallo: Abside Decoration
  • Mario Rosello: Marble Eagles on the Parvis Wall
  • Floriano Bodini: Lavic Stone and Silver Tabernacle
  • Giuliano Vangi: Stone Ambo
  • Mimmo Paladino: Bronze doors of the Baptismal font and Liturgical entrance
  • Capacity: 6.500 seated places (inside), up to 30.000 persons
  • Site Area: 38.000 sq.m
  • Landscape Area: 17.600 sq.m
  • Footprint Area (Including Church, Crypt, Etc): 14.800 sq.mts
  • Surface Of The Only Church: 6.000 sq.mts
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© Michel Denancé
© Michel Denancé

Text description provided by the architects. The church dedicated to Padre Pio is a sacred building with ample open space for the public, yet it’s lines are deliberately non-monumental and clearly exude a warm welcome. The project was based on two fundamental principles: the use of a single type of stone as a symbol of oneness with its surroundings, and the idea of the church as a home open to all. The square leads naturally into the main body of the church, the forward-sweeping wing-shaped roof and the ample glass frontal panes – with the story of Revelations on great coloured tapestries – are clear messages of inclusion. 

© Michel Denancé
© Michel Denancé

The yearly increase in flow of pilgrims to the town of San Giovanni Rotondo called for the construction of a new church, one with a wide path leading to it and vast open spaces to receive and organise the masses of pilgrims who periodically fill this raised plain of the Gargano region, home to Padre Pio. The church was built adjacent to the monastery and, its vast size notwithstanding, its novel architecture carved out a nonetheless protected place of prayer, a shared space which blended in with its surroundings and looked out into the distance at the sea.

© Michel Denancé
© Michel Denancé

The arched structure of the church was made out of blocks of beige Apricena stone. The decision to use this stone as the sole building material for the new part was fundamental and rendered it a homogenous whole. The fact that the church was being built in a seismically active region was further impetus to explore new and innovative structural solutions.  Rigidity also means fragility, but thanks to the techniques used to assemble and pre-compress the massive blocks, this monumental arched project is able to dissipate energy and absorb the stress created by earthquakes.

© Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building Workshop / Cross section showing arches and roof structure
© Rpbw, Renzo Piano Building Workshop / Cross section showing arches and roof structure

The 22 supporting arches are lined up in two rows (interior and exterior) in a radial pattern that flows outwards from the altar, with decreasing sizes and an accelerated rhythm as they move further away. The arches support the secondary wooden structure for the overlapping roof panels secured onto sets of steel struts. Even this distance, this floating of the roof in seemingly empty space, is an integral feature of the structural autonomy of the parts, allowing them to move independently during an earthquake and thus increasing their resistance factor.

© Christian Richters
© Christian Richters

The rounded surfaces of the roof follow the spiral thrust of the structure and lean on one another lightly, letting sunlight filter through to the inside. Just like in 17th-century churches and paintings, a single ray of light shines on the altar, the centre of the liturgical celebrations.

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Project location

Address: Viale Padre Pio, 5, 71013 San Giovanni Rotondo FG, Italy

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Padre Pio Pilgrimage Church / Renzo Piano Building Workshop " 27 Aug 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/900757/padre-pio-pilgrimage-church-renzo-piano-building-workshop/> ISSN 0719-8884
© Michel Denancé

圣毕奥神父朝圣教堂 / 伦佐·皮亚诺工作室

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