Parish Complex in the Diocese of Lodi | The Plan
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Parish Complex in the Diocese of Lodi

A Church for Mankind


A huge solitary white cylinder stands against the flat skyline in the open countryside that is Italy’s northern Po valley plain around Lodi, near Milan. This is the first impression you get of the parish church at Dresano by Neapolitan architects Corvino and Multari, winners of the competition by invitation called by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) in 2009. Yet the uncompromising stereometric form is part of a much-researched, complex program that had to resolve at least three problematic issues facing architects of places of worship. The result is an exemplary lesson in method and how potential problems can be transformed into opportunities to bring about one of the most mature, meaningful new constructions in a sector of such fundamental importance in Italy. Problems Top on the list is the very fact of designing a piece of religious architecture, a delicate problem-fraught brief for a number of reasons. First, there is the symbolic charge attached to any religious building. Then, there are the inevitable comparisons that will be made with the many Modernist masters who have successfully reinterpreted a tradition going back thousands of years that has given the world so many extraordinary achievements. Finally, there is the progressive secularization of contemporary society that has obliged religion to take on a different dimension and led the catholic church to rethink the way places of worship are used and hence articulated, with the need for new forms to combine an unchanged symbolic value and the new liturgical approach, continuing tradition but at the same time embracing current needs. The second-order problem is the whole question of the place of modern buildings of worship in our modern world. Alongside its mission as a place of contemplation and introspection, a church is the focal point of its pastoral ministry but also the center of other activities involving the community. This is why here, the cloister is no longer an enclosed monastic...

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