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  • The New Place of the Sacred Portrait

    Mario Botta’s Santo Volto Church, Turin

    Built on a post-industrial housing estate in the north of Turin, the complex comprises a heptagonal church accentuated with spires and an L-shaped wing of the parish embracing it. The two structures surround an urban square functioning as the venue suited for major events. The main entrance opens from here. There are several teaching room and a conference hall of considerable dimensions underneath. The architectural formation turns southward with its point, having the bells and the spire on its eastern side. The spire had originally been a chimney belonging to a plant replaced by the church and was transformed later on into a „tree of life” surrounded by a thorny metal coil twisting 21 times.

    With a facework in which red stone mined in Verona alternates with brick, the chuch has an entrance beneath a tiny metal-covered windbreak. On entering the building the first sight we catch is the dark and light red portrait in the shrine wall making us stop immediately. Made up of horizontal bands of stone, this composition by Fornace Ballatore divides the face of the portrait into fragments like islets of smaller or bigger size. Going on from the foyer we can see the vaulting of the central space where straight beams stretching from the walls to the zenith of the spatial polygon divide the body into a total of 14 fields. Each even-numbered field receives light through two low and a high spire flue. Every odd-numbered field rests on a pair of columns behind which there is an ambulatory connecting seven chapels and niches true to the tradition of pilgrimage churches.

    Vilmos Katona

    Client: Mons. Cardinale Severino Poletto, Torino érseke

    Architect: Mario Botta

    Fellow architects: Studio O. Siniscalco, Roberta Filippi, Maria Rita Lo Forte, Gianluca Marchese, Davide Scolaro, Talete Biancardi, Gianni Bellan, Patrizia Gugliotta

    Structure: Studio O. Siniscalco – Giorgio N. Siniscalco, Luca Chiabrando

    Organ and furniture: Famiglia Artigiana, Fratelli Ruffatti, Marietta, Caloi Industria, Genuflex