Church of Santa Maria Goretti, Mormanno, Italy - Photo © Duccio Malagamba
Church of Santa Maria Goretti, Mormanno, Italy - Photo © Duccio Malagamba

On the hills of the municipality of Mormanno, at the border between Basilicata and Calabria, the solitary monolithic church overlooks the urban context of the town in Calabria. With 16 meters of height, the architecture takes its inspiration from the eucharist and prayer, becoming a treasure chest to conserve the sacred aura of the interiors, in dialogue with the surrounding landscape.

The monumental plan in the form of a four-leaf clover reinterprets the geometry of Baroque churches, while the main façade, opening onto a new urban piazza, has a few essential features that indicate the principal signs of the Christian tradition: the entrance portal and the cross. One enters the church through an opening that marks one of the four apses in white concrete, generating a tall external cross that is visible from a distance, like a beacon when lit up at night.

The interior is flooded with natural light, and contains a site-specific artwork by Giuseppe Maraniello. A series of translucent veils, suspended like drapes, fills the central space, reverberating with natural light through the folds, in a game of reflections that evokes the mystical spectacle of the aurora borealis. The furnishings in wood and steel, designed by MCD – Mario Cucinella Design, are intentionally minimal in character, to bring out the beauty of the architectural and sculptural elements.

The church has just won the Architizer A+Awards 2023, selected as the best project in the category Architecture + Small Projects, with the indication of “Popular Choice.” This honor comes after the BLT – Built Design Award 2022 and the 2022 International Architecture Awards.

Photo © Duccio Malagamba