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Church of Santo Volto
Turin , Italy 
2001-2006


Church of Santo Volto
Turin , Italy
2001-2006

Project
2001

Commissioned by
Archbishopric of Turin , His Excellence Cardinal Severino Poletto for the Parish of Santo Volto

Site area
26’500 m²

Volume
125’000 m³

In commissioning the Church of Santo Volto in Turin , His Eminence Cardinal Severino Poletto was well aware of the reasons, risks and hopes that a church can elicit today in its particular relation with the city. Like many other European cities, Turin has focused over the past several decades on the image of its historical layout, while new urbanisation work has rarely managed to become an active part of the city texture. The opportunity to design a new church recalls the great hopes of the past, “when the cathedral were white” – to borrow from Le Corbusier. Consequently, a new ecclesial structure to replace abandoned industrial areas has become an important commitment to link different urban districts and establish a new hub for both social and religious life. Because of its position, clearly visible from Piazza Piero della Francesca, the new church engenders a monumental layout. It is a powerfully plastic symbol that draws the visitor’s attention towards a centripetal space, and its presence will indubitably become a landmark for the environs. At the same time, it is a sign alluding to the commitment to construct the city through its most significant monuments, creating an image that can bear positive witness while also reflecting the contradictory nature of contemporary life. Its design plies today’s language, yet it seeks grounds for self-expression in the history of church architecture. Indeed, this is the architect’s challenge, and it must be acknowledged as hope in that need for spirituality which sustains our daily actions. The challenge is to ensure that the emotions evoked by the Church of Santo Volto in Turin will not remain the legacy of the architect alone, but that they will instead also be shared by the Turin community, for the architect’s prime role is to interpret the hopes of the era in which he lives.