Located in the Italian town of Mormanno overlooking the National Park of Pollino, the Santa Maria Goretti church is an elegant new center for the community. Designed by Mario Cucinella Architects, the structure is defined by its simplicity and minimalism.
The church takes the shape of a four-leaf clover. When viewed in elevation—or straight ahead—the building is a simple white mass with no visible openings except the clever entrance which peels back from a massive cross that is scaled to the height of the entire building.
The Episcopal Conference of Italy held a design competition for the project—a new church dedicated to Saint Maria Goretti. Goretti is the church’s youngest saint and the patroness of purity, young women, and victims of assault. It is fitting that the church designed in her honor is so “pure” in its materiality and form.
Within the structure, parishioners find a contemporary place of worship with modern steel and wood chairs also designed by the architects. Most notably, long pieces of fabric hang from the tall ceiling in interesting waves to create a spiritual light effect below. This intervention and the unusual furniture both hint at the designers’ stance on the project. “Designing a church is a message of continuity with the spirit of art that has passed unperturbed through the centuries of humanity,” says Cucinella.
Mario Cucinella Architects hopes that the project will benefit the community by providing a place for worship and by acting as an example of more sustainable building processes. The design minimizes energy usage and includes a green roof, interior courtyards, and a garden in front of a rectory for added plant life.