Client: Archiepiscopal Curia of Milan
Location: Varedo, Milan
Competition: 1990 first classified
Architectural design: Marco Contini, Claudio Bernardi and Raffaele Ghillani
Director of works: Marco Contini
Collaborators: Claudia Guastadini, Andrea Zerbi, Agata Cleri
Structures: Sandro Nalin, Maurizio Ghillani
Type of intervention: new construction
Functional characteristics: Community centre consisting of a worship building, parish priest’s residence, catechetical classrooms, multipurpose hall and kitchen area, sports and leisure areas.
Area: 20.800 sqm
Photographs: Stefano Botti, Marco Contini, Davide Galli
The project of the church was the winner in 1990 of a competition organized by the Archiepiscopal Curia of Milan, with the main objective of building an urban organism in which building volumes and open spaces, alternating, assume a precise identity and quality.
Walk along beautiful walls and through beautiful courtyards; with this aim the building volumes have been placed towards the main road to form a fairly compact front, leaving the entrances to the inner courtyards clearly visible.
A crossing path connects all the external and internal spaces, strengthening the perception of a complex but still unitary organism. The front towards the playing fields is conceived in a soft way, leaving to a low and long pergola the task of welcoming those who come from there.
The church building, conceived and built as a large walled enclosure, houses the most characteristic element inside: a suspended wooden velarium that delimits the hall and the assembly. Entering the church we immediately perceive the sense of recollection; the frontal vision of the altar signals the arrival point of a path and the beginning of a strongly significant space in which the Assembly and the Presbytery form, in their unitary configuration, the place of the Eucharistic Canteen. The intention was to obtain inside a “calm tension”, a sense of almost domestic welcome, but at the same time not to renounce that sense of mystery which is in the tradition of the buildings of the ‘Sacred’.
Important in this objective has been the use of light that is never spectacular, but simply functional to make understand the hierarchies of the parts in which the interior is articulated. The light then marks the time of day by distributing itself on the interior surfaces in different ways depending on the position of the sun: this is a pleasant perception that accompanies those who are inside making them participate in the passage of time.
The thick perimeter walls of the building allow us to perceive it on the outside as strongly rooted in the ground, while on the inside, thanks to their thickness and the location of the openings allow us to obtain the necessary silence and, very important, a continuous circulation and exchange of air. In addition to the architectural design, all the interior furnishings of the church have been designed.