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Church of Sant' Ireneo

All the main projects have to deal with automatic writing, with the attitude that allows clear concepts to react with developments only perceived. The case of this church is emblematic. I wanted to reflect on an outdated type, consumed more by stylisation than by the bright exceptions.

A building that had to have an intellectual reason to exist beyond the inevitable liturgical and contextual reasons. It is a church for the periphery, therefore an organism that had to produce microurbanism and convert the penalizing traces into positive values. I hoped to see a miracle of contextual architecture.

To this I added a reflection, never really metabolized for me, on Michelucci's aphorisms, his shift towards the archaic to talk about the future, towards nature to talk about the city, towards expressionism to talk about a blind reason of feelings. All these architectures I didn't like formally, almost as if I felt in them the pretension of not being accepted easily to suggest a darker and deeper area, which can only be evoked and not narrated.

The central hall is capable of accommodating the contemporary liturgy and contains open places that have become part of it.

The architectural matter was divided into a "contextual building" in brick, which regulated the relationship with the place, and a "functional building", in exposed concrete, which delimited the utilizations. Between the two, a third building made up of open spaces, a enclosure of light, the most archaic sign of delimitation, realized with the absence of matter. In this ring, composed of sun, earth and water, the signs of the Catholic religion had to be placed and in them the hall would expand.

The city-piazza-sagrato axis is replaced by two urban places produced by the disarticulation of the church type, a tree-lined avenue on the side, with a long urban bench for young people, and a terrace at the level of the church perimeter from the bell tower, chapel and portico, where usually the families are. The entrance from a portico (monumental only for those who cross it), the access to the corners, the rotated assembly, a room of light to the south, a patio with olive trees to the north and a fountain behind the celebrant. The rotation between city and liturgical space is the true "threshold" between the two worlds.

Location: Cesano Boscone, Milan

Client: archbishop of Milan 

Cost: 3.275.000 €

Surface: 1.100 sqm

Year: 1990

Publications: Panorama 1250

                      Casabella 572

                      Domus 720

                      Building Design, London, Sep 1990

                      D'A 5/1990

                      Catalogo generale, Milan 1990

                      Chiesa oggi 2/1992

                      Archimade 51/1996

                      Prove 2/1998

                      Chiese nuove verso il terzo millennio

                      Casabella 687

                      Architettura e arti per la liturgia, CEI

                      Industria delle costruzioni 360

                      Industria italiana del cemento, 2001

                      Arkitekton 2/2001

                      Repubblica, 11 dec 2001

                      Techniques et Architecture 2/2002

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