RE-USE THE FALLEN CHURCH. March 2021
Chiesa Diruta: Suspended in Time
In collaboration with Verity Blevins
Embedded in layers of history, Chiesa Diruta has much to offer the city and the public. This proposal acts as a beacon, or chandelier, to orient citizens towards a new center for performances and cultural exchange. The project attracts locals and visitors alike to connect in shared experience while understanding the church and city through a new lens: an illuminated vessel for discovery.
In the spirit of a chandelier, the organization of the concert hall is devised radially around church’s oculus, acting as the core of the project. Amplified by our proposal, the oculus illuminates the stage where musicians, artists, actors, and others gather for performances. The tiered seating and circulation maintain the original modules of the church marked by the existing columns. To preserve and celebrate the integrity of the original heavy structure, the concert hall is suspended above and carefully weaves through the existing context.
The town of Grottole is known for caves and subterranean spaces that were used by the public historically. To re-engage the city with its layered past, the textured underside of the concert hall, punctured by seams of light, is expressed to form a cavernous exhibition gallery for local or traveling art and artifacts. The open exhibition gallery frames the view of the surrounding landscape, maintaining the link between Chiesa Diruta and the region. To preserve the church’s interior and protect the concert hall during inclement weather, the proposal’s glass and terracotta façade wraps around the existing structure. The façade varies in permeability and transparency to invite the public in. Terracotta tiles reinterpret the historical terracotta roofs that are common throughout Grottole and Italy. At night, the transparent envelope transforms Chiesa Diruta into a lantern that can be seen from neighboring buildings and across the landscape.
Chiesa Diruta explores the historical, cultural, and material conditions of the church and surrounding city to revive a landmark for generations to come.