February 1, 2013

Contemporary Worship: Cappella nel Bosco

Once the guidelines of a more open and diffuse evangelization were established by the Vatican Council II (1962), it was possible for religious architecture to move beyond its established boundaries, says Paolo Zermani. Zermani’s firm, Studio Zermani Associati, is located in Parma, Italy, and has designed a number of religious buildings, including the San Giovanni Church in Perugia and the Tempio di Cremazione di Parma.

For their most recent chapel project—Cappella nel Bosco—the firm created a place of prayer integrated in a hilly private property where ancient pilgrims once passed en route to Rome.

“The main principle behind my [religious] projects remains, just like it has always been for architects of western Christianity, that of revealing the cross,” says Zermani. “Every day the morning sun illuminates this cross in a direct way, gradually projecting the shadow on the wall. When the sun is higher, before disappearing behind the mountain, the shadow of the cross reflects on the ground for a short time.”

A wall fragment joins the cross. Together they can be viewed from the home where the project’s commissioners reside, about 980 feet away. Creating a link between interior and exterior structures, between people and buildings and nature, encompassing the entire architectural area, is a theme for Zermani.

He explains it as the fusion between the cross, the layout of the building, and the human figure—a reference to the concept of re-birth, which Zermani believes continues to gain value. “The figure [of the cross] is still the figure of Christ.” he says.

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