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Memoria - A sicilian church

OFL architecture

Ancient memories as suggestions for a contemporary sacred space.


"Memoria" is the project submitted by OFL architecture in the restricted competition for the new Redemptoris Mater parish complex in Cinisi, near Palermo. The architects referenced the historical, artistic and social context to encourage a comfortable impact for citizens thanks to forms and images well renowned for the community. At the same time, those references were moulded for contemporary needs in terms of functions and forms.

The plan is inspired by the "tonnara", the ancient productive building for tuna fishing which was composes of various connected parts. Similarly to the tonnara, the parish complex appears as a singular entity made of many inhabitable spaces, intimately related one to the other. The overall layout reflects also an holistic approach to faith. In fact, by means of spaces devoted to specific and various activities, it fosters connections between various realms such as, for example, music and biology, agriculture and sociology, psychology and religion. The complex offers to believers, to citizens of the community-at-large, and to visiting guests a dynamic space organized as a unit to assemble a self-sufficient village.

The roof of the church is formed by a series of cupolas. The pointed arch used as their main generative form comes from the Monreale Cathedral, one of the most relevant examples of ancient Norman architecture in Sicily. The cupolas differ by size, some bigger others smaller, but overall unity prevails on differences, as it happens when observing a mountain landscape or the assembly of disciples around Christ: these were, in fact, additional references for the project. The cupolas are pierced with a geometric pattern resembling ancient weaving techniques.

The animation introduces the project by means of images commented by a child voiceover narrating the story and the references of the complex.

Authors icon Credits

Architect: OFL architecture
Mentioned project: "Memoria" new parish complex (2015)
Project location: Cinisi, Palermo, Italy
Voice: Carla Carta
Music: Gabriele Giambertone
Camera: Riccio Blu
Motion graphic: Lucio Coppa
Animation: Joshua Mackley
Editing: Andre Pilia

Italy 2015
Duration: 5'07''