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San Paolo Parish Complex

Massimiliano & Doriana Fuksas

Many Italian churches have become hallowed monuments, cherished for their beauty, but seldom used for worship. Museums have supplanted cathedrals as the principal locus of uplift, and sports have displaced religion as the thread that binds strangers together. Few contemporary architects of significance are impelled by faith to create new churches, but the aesthetic challenge is irresistible. The program allows a wide range of expression and draws on a two-thousand-year legacy. To a far greater degree than other building types, a church aspires to the eternal. It’s an exercise in the sublime, and the interplay of structure, space, and light. Some of the greatest buildings of our secular age, from Ronchamp to Peter Zumthor’s chapels and SOM’s Cathedral of Christ the Light are consecrated to Catholicism, even as the institution loses ground to a diversity of irrational beliefs. Matching...

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