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Church of the Holy Trinity

The Eternal Essence of a Place of Worship

PBeB Paolo Belloni Architetti

Church of the Holy Trinity
By Caterina Testa -

Like many small towns in the area, Carpi, in Italy’s northern Po Valley between Mantua and Modena, is surrounded by flat agricultural land as far as the eye can see, and enveloped in thick banks of fog during the winter. The backdrop of the church in the Cibeno neighborhood of Carpi is typical of the regional landscape: stretches of flat farmland interspersed by tightly packed residential clusters – some dating back to the 1960s, others to the turn of the new millennium – alongside swathes of industrial buildings.

Farmland until the 1950s, the Cibeno neighborhood north of the old town center was gradually overtaken by a dense urban sprawl of detached houses and small apartment blocks to become a crowded residential district. With the old church no longer able to accommodate the growing religious community, some ten years ago the diocese held a competition to design a new place of worship, to be built in a central position between a former deconsecrated cemetery and the existing church.

Paolo Belloni’s PBeB studio won the competition with a complex and ambitious project and proceeded to work closely with the diocese and the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) until its completion in 2020. But the tragic earthquake that hit the region of Emilia Romagna in 2012 turned the original project on its head. With the existing church damaged and inaccessible, a new church became a major priority.

As economic resources now had to be stretched across many more requirements, the initial church design had to be substantially redefined. However, change was taken as an opportunity to think simple and design a decidedly more sober building with no hint of ostentation.

PBeB’s first decision was to site the new church in the old cemetery instead of on an adjacent field. This symbolically roots the future of community’s place of worship in its past, preserving the memory of those who have gone before. No less...

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