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Jubilee Church
Richard Meier & Partners

January 26, 2004 /

Rome, Italy

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Photo © Edmund Sumner

The parish church for the year 2000 was conceived as a new center for a somewhat isolated housing quarter on the outskirts of Rome.

The triangular site is doubly articulated to divide the sacred realm to the south, where the nave is located, from the secular precinct to the north, and to separate the pedestrian approach from the east from the parking lot to the west.

jubilee_church_2.jpgPhoto © Edmund Sumner

The central ideas for creating a sacred space have to do with truth and authenticity, a search for clarity, peace, transparency, a yearning for tranquillity, a place to evoke otherworldliness in a way that is uplifting. And to express spirituality, the architect has to think of the original material of architecture, space and light.

/Richard Meier

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Photo © Edmund Sumner

The paved sagrato to the east of the church extends into the heart of the housing complex, providing an open plaza for public assembly. The northern half of the site is divided into two courts. The east court is sunken by a full story to provide light and access to the lowest floor of the community center. The elevated western court is separated from a meditation court behind the church by a paved walkway that leads to the parking area.

The proportional structure of the entire complex is based on a series of squares and four circles. Three circles of equal radius generate the profiles of the three concrete shells that, together with the spine-wall, make up the body of the nave. The three shells imply the Holy Trinity, while the reflecting pool symbolizes the role played by water in the Baptism ritual.

The stone used in the portico, paving, wall cladding and liturgical furniture has a dual significance: it alludes to the body of Christ's church, and to the adjacent residential fabric.

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Photo © Edmund Sumner

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Photo © Edmund Sumner

Glazed skylights and side windows suspended between the shells diffuse natural light into the nave and throughout the interior of the church, which is enlivened by patterns of light and shadow that constantly change according to the hour, the weather, and the season.

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Photo © Edmund Sumner

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Photo © Edmund Sumner

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Photo © Edmund Sumner

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Photo © Edmund Sumner

The Jubilee Church was inaugurated on October 26, 2003 Cardinal Camillo Ruini, Vicar General, consecrated the church, named Dio Padre Misericordioso (God our Merciful Father) by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as Pontiff.

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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