The Church of the Holy Spirit, light becomes matter
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The Church of the Holy Spirit, light becomes matter

The project repurposes materials and forms of rural architecture in the Mantua area, filling the buildings with light


The Church of the Holy Spirit, light becomes matter
By Editorial Staff -

The base with a jalousie motif typical of the rural architecture of the region, the gabled volume of the liturgy hall, the simplicity of the forms and the use of traditional materials: the church of the Holy Spirit of Pegognaga, in the province of Mantua, fits into its environment through a process of camouflage, echoing vernacular architecture, particularly that of the rural homes that dot the nearby countryside.

The project for the new parish complex of the church of the Holy Spirit redesigns the top of one of the main squares of the historical center, dividing it into a front and back: the liturgy hall extends south in a lower, elongated body with a trapezoidal shape, hosting parish spaces and creating a backdrop that separates the church from a more enclosed piazza, similar to a courtyard, at the back.

The façades are characterized on each side by a brick base, that opens outward with jalousie fretwork and resembles a large boundary wall, ideally continuing the boundary of the adjacent 17th-century villa.  Above the base, the large gabled volume of the liturgy hall stands out, dominating the composition with its simple grandeur. The sloping double-pitched roof defines the triangular silhouette of the two main façades with its simple geometry that is not altered by any accessory element. Earthenware-colored pillars, obtained by adding concrete to iron oxide pigments, echo the basement bricks and punctuate the main and side façades, alternating with slender, full-height openings, screened by opaline windows without external frames, that recall many sunshades and give verticality and sumptuousness to the composition.

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Natural materials: wood and stone

Chiesa del Santo Spirito, LR-Architetti ©Marco Introini, courtesy of LR-Architetti

The interior of the liturgy hall is composed of a single environment, privy of dividing elements and pillars: despite its imposing size, the space is intimate and cozy. The absence of interior divisions directs the visitor’s attention towards the large altar located on the side opposite the entrance. Light permeates the hall, filtering through the slender side openings, and diffuses in the space, filling the architecture with its intangibility that changes with the passage of time.

In the lower portions, the side walls are clad with fluted concrete panels with vertical curtain-like patterns and an acoustic function.

The pavement, made of polished pink Lessinia stone, unifies the liturgical space, and contrasts the wooden cladding of the sloping roof. Finally, the liturgical candles, with stereometric and minimalist shapes and realized in layered light marble of the same stone, dialogue with stripped-down elements derived from the previous Church of the Assumption, such as the mensa and tabernacle. 

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Location: Pegognaga, Mantova, Italy
Architects: LR-Architetti 
Build up area: 1,145 m2
Suppliers: Zintek

Photography by Marco Introini courtesy of LR-Architetti 

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