a team of young architects composed of INOUTarchitettura, LADO architetti and LAMBER + LAMBER, has recently completed the church of the penitent thief and its annexed parish complex in san lazzaro di savena, italy. the project, which initiated in 2010 and captured by simone bossi, included the community in its design process in order to realize a church that doesn’t sacrifice its symbolic and evocative dimensions while creating a recognizable and inclusive structure.

group of young architects complete the church of the penitent thief in bologna
images by simone bossi

 

 

the design by INOUTarchitettura, LADO architetti and LAMBER + LAMBER for the church of the penitent thief references the archetypal image of a church but strips it from piety in order to reflect a sober, solemn and not monumental image. featuring modest geometries, the structure boasts a light-colored wall casing that evokes marble. these walls bend and slide off each other, turning into large half-open doors that give access to the main hall and main entrance.

group of young architects complete the church of the penitent thief in bologna

 

 

the main design element is a continuous crack running along the entire roof splitting the building’s shell and allowing natural light to come in while revealing the presence of the sky. this symbolic gesture references the name of the church itself that aims to transmit a redemption message. inside, the liturgical spaces have been organized along the perimeter, built in wall niches — the baptistery, the weekday chapel and the area dedicated to the choir. the resulting central voids hosts the assembly hall with benches arranged in a semicircular form, embracing 300 people.

group of young architects complete the church of the penitent thief in bologna

 

 

on the east side of the church is the parish complex consisting of two new buildings plus a refurbished existing building. these new buildings, which connect with the church, form an internal courtyard overlooked by the classrooms. the project also saw the involvement of the inmates at the la dozza prison in bologna who helped construct the church, further enhancing the message of liberation and redemption.

group of young architects complete the church of the penitent thief in bologna

church of the penitent thief

group of young architects complete the church of the penitent thief in bologna

church of the penitent thief

church of the penitent thief

church of the penitent thief

church of the penitent thief

church of the penitent thief

 

 

 

project info:

 

project name: church of the penitent thief
address: via seminario 2, 40068 san lazzaro di savena (bologna, italy)
architecture: INOUTarchitettura, LADO architetti, LAMBER + LAMBER
project team: arch. mario assisi, arch. luca ladinetti, ing. fiorella lamber, arch. mario lamber, arch. paolo lamber, arch. valentina milani
client: parish of san lorenzo del farneto (don paolo dall’olio)
liturgist: mons. amilcare zuffi
design phase: december 2009 – july 2017 
construction phase: october 2017 – june 2019
project area: 4.935 sqm
GFA: 1.056 sqm
paintings: paolo mennea
sculptures: flavio senoner
structural engineering: ing. michele naldi 
installations: R.B impianti s.r.l.

 

contractor: C.I.M.S. s.c.r.l. – cooperativa intersettoriale montana sassoleone (borgo tossignano, bologna)
mechanical installations: prosapio patrick service s.r.l. (san lazzaro di savena, bologna), fast impianti
electrical installations: donati impianti s.r.l. (castel san pietro terme, bologna)
finshings: delisari materia design s.r.l.s. (bologna)
liturgical furniture: la nova s.a.s. (treviso)
 

materials

structure: reinforced concrete and plasterboard
floor: oak and ceramic parquet (baptistery area)
windows: aluminum
covering: painted aluminum sheet
furniture:
benches and seat of the parish priest: oak wood
altar and baptistery: selenite (commonly called “gypsum, chalk” – the church is located a short distance from the parco dei gessi bolognesi and calanchi dell’abbadessa)