The Apulian town of Manfredonia on the Adriatic coast, dating from medieval times, has an area of high-density building development. One plot contains the triangular Parish Church of the Sacred Family complete with presbytery, and is now being completed with an Oratory of the Sacred Family. The parish building site provides no significant landmarks to refer to or dialogue with. Nor is there any room for choice: in order to meet a complex brief (youth meeting hall, catechism and education classrooms, community activities centre) the architect can but focus on the remaining space in the plot, concentrate the volumes, and go for a site plan that steers a middle course between open place and rooms proper. The firms of AtelierMap and Planprogetti, who are used to teaming up on major operations, have taken their cue from the cloister idea and developed on from there: a place of mediation, part open, part protected, concentrating spaces though with a fragmentary sense of ‘through’ direction, a place that has an airy feel despite being in a building block. The plan hinges on the open central area or court onto which alone the various structures turn. A set of cube-shaped buildings at right-angles forms a rectangular quad: two long thin one-storey structures house teaching rooms and meeting halls, while the bottom end is occupied by the main feature, a large double-height multi-purpose hall, its façade divided into a groundfloor strip of glass and an upper strip of exposed cement framing the “cloister”. On the road side the access point is straddled by another series of small rooms. It suggests a 16m-long carriageway through which the court area and its architectural backdrop are glimpsed. Its original purpose may have been to allow a steady flow of faithful towards the Oratory; what remains is a visual access through to the interior. Limited funding meant simplifying materials while marking the relation between spaces and their activities: the architectural concrete of the perimeter wall makes decoration out of the varying course width and the roughcast finish; fine-smoothed cement floors link outside to inside; the string of aluminium-framed windows lend a pattern to the façades overlooking the court. The big hall acting as end-stop to the cloister is emphatically multi-purpose in its barrage of doors and windows which close off or open up the hall straight onto the central quad. The upper wall surface is freely strewn with Perspex apertures inserted right from the casting phase. This surface decoration also lets through shafts of light which reflect inside the hall and make fascinating geometrical compositions – achieving an immaterial connection between earth and sky.
Location: Manfredonia, Foggia
Client: Curia Arcivescovile di Manfredonia
Gross Floor Area: 680 m2
Architects: Planprogetti - Sergio delli Carri, Gaetano Gelsomino, Francesco Lauriola, Giuliana Granatiero; AtelierMap - Gianfranco Gianfriddo, Luigi Pellegrino, Francesco Cacciatore
Collaborators: Angelo Zingale, Michael Renna, Simone Vitale
Contractor: Eredi Paolo De Salvia & C.
Structural: Gaetano Gelsomino
Photo by: © Peppe Maisto
Planprogetti has been involved in research and design in both the public and private sectors for several years. Many of its designs have been exhibited at prestigious Italian events (the 8th Identità dell’Architettura Italiana conference, the Triennial of Milan, Parma’s Festival dell’Architettura, and the Decennale Architettura per la Capitanata) and featured in major Italian and international architectural journals (Casabella, Arquitectura and Vida).
Sergio delli Carri
Born in Manfredonia in 1964, delli Carri graduated in architecture at Florence in 1992 with Alberto Breschi and Eugene Martera. From 1989 to 1994 he worked at Progetti Integrati in Florence. Since 1995 he has been a partner of Planprogetti, where he also conducts research.
Born in Manfredonia in 1962, Gelsomino graduated in construction engineering at Naples in 1994. He has been a partner of Planprogetti since 1995, where he also conducts research.
Lauriola was born in Manfredonia in 1977 and graduated in architecture at Pescara with Ludovico Micara in 2006. From 2003 to 2006 he worked with the general building contractor Mucafer as site manager. Since 2007 he has been a partner of Planprogetti, where he also conducts research.
Born in Foggia in 1979, Granatiero graduated in architecture at Rome in 2004. Between 2004 and 2006 he worked as a lighting designer at Zumtobel Staff. Since 2008 he has been a partner and account manager of Planprogetti, where he also conducts research.
Born in Catania in 1964, Gianfriddo graduated in architecture at Rome’s ‘La Sapienza’ University in 1994 with Adolfo Sajeva and Francesco Cellini. Since 2009 he has been an assistant professor of architectural and urban design at the Catania Faculty of Architecture, Syracuse campus.
Pellegrino was born in Monte S. Angelo in 1963. He graduated in architecture at Università di Firenze in 1990 with Adolfo Natalini, Gabriele Morolli and Lino Centi. Since 2002 he has been an adjunct professor at the Catania Faculty of Architecture, Syracuse campus. Since January 2005 he has been an assistant professor of architectural and urban design at the Catania Faculty of Architecture, Syracuse campus.
Born in Vibo Valentia in 1975, Cacciatore graduated in architecture at Università di Reggio Calabria in 2001 with Antonio Marino, Manuel Aires Mateus and Louis Pellegrino. Since 2006 he has been an adjunct professor of architectural design at the Catania Faculty of Architecture, Syracuse campus.