The Jubilee Church (La Chiesa del Dio Padre Misericordioso), conceived as part of Pope John Paul II’s millennium initiative to rejuvenate parish life within Italy, is located outside central Rome.

Courtesy of Richard Meier and Partners – Photographs : Oliver Blum

The triangular site is articulated three ways: first, dividing the sacred realm to the south, where the nave is located, from the secular precinct to the north; second, separating the approach on foot from the housing situated in the east; and third, again separating the approach on foot, from the parking lot situated to the west.

Courtesy of Richard Meier and Partners – Site Plan

The paved sagrato to the east of the Jubilee Church extends into the heart of the housing complex and provides an open plaza for public assembly. The northern half of the site is divided into two courts: the eastern one is below ground by a full story, providing light and access to the lowest floor of the community center. Behind the Jubilee Church, the elevated western court is separated from the adjacent meditation court by a paved walkway that leads to the parking area.

Courtesy of Richard Meier and Partners – Photographs : Oliver Blum

The proportional structure of the entire complex is based on a series of squares and four circles. Three circles of equal radius generate the profiles of the three concrete shells that, together with the spine-wall, make up the body of the nave.

Courtesy of Richard Meier and Partners – Section

While the three shells imply the Holy Trinity, the reflecting pool symbolizes the role played by water in the sacrament of Baptism. The materials used in the portico—the paving, the wall cladding and the liturgical furniture-allude to the body of Christ’s church while referencing the fabric of the adjacent residential area.

Courtesy of Richard Meier and Partners – Photographs : Oliver Blum

Glazed skylights suspended between the shells are lit by zenithal sidelight, and the nave is enlivened by a constantly changing pattern of light and shade. The light is diffused over the inner volume of the Jubilee Church and varies according to the hour, the weather, and the season, imparting a particular character to the aspects of the interior.

Courtesy of Richard Meier and Partners – Photographs : Oliver Blum

Project Info :

Architects : Richard Meier and Partners
Project Year : 2003
Project Area : 830.0 m2
Client : Vicariato of Rome
Lights And Illumination : FMRS, Erco
Photographs : Oliver Blum Photography
Project Location : Via di Tor Tre Teste, Rome, Italy
Structural Engineers : Ove Arup and Partners, Italcementi
Mechanical Engineers : Ove Arup and Partners, Luigi Dell’Aquila

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