Sustainability, sobriety, simplicity. These are the themes underlying the national architectural competition “Diocesan Paths” promoted by the Italian Episcopal Conference. TAM Associati architecture studio won the competition for the church of Varignano, a suburb of Viareggio.
The project put forward was designed with the utmost respect for the history of both the neighbourhood and the parishioners. The new structure - which includes a large liturgical space, the rectory, a churchyard and an area dedicated to the community – was created to replace the previous church which had become unusable. “All the design choices were conceived with conceptual and constructive sobriety in mind, avoiding any kind of 'monumental' approach (not in line with the place and its history) and instead emphasising the distinctive traits of 'solidarity' and 'welcome' that have always characterised this parish and the entire district of Varignano” explained TAM Associati.
A key role was given to the theme of sustainability which oriented both the choice of materials and the design of the building's systems. The natural qualities of Lapitec®, combined with its eco-friendly features, were essential motivations for using the large sintered stone slabs on internal surfaces and for some of the furniture coverings.
Specifically, full body sintered stone was chosen for the baptistery: a highly evocative work of great iconic impact, built around a selection of few elements. The rarefied atmosphere stems from the brilliance of Bianco Polare in the Satin finish on the vertical wall, which echoes the flooring of the same colour, but in the Vesuvio finish, which was also used for the steps and the entire bench covering. Lapitec® was also chosen for the large and airy presbytery featuring in the background an imposing wall inspired by Giotto's Scrovegni chapel, while the floor presents the natural brightness of Bianco Polare in the Vesuvio finish, also used for the pulpit and as a bench covering. Another little treasure in Lapitec® is the Marian altar, where Lapitec® Bianco Polare interacts with the space, creating an intimate environment. Finally, full body sintered stone was chosen by TAM Associati for the baptismal font and holy water font, alternating the warmth of the Moca nuance, in the Vesuvio finish, with Bianco Polare in Satin.
The chosen shade, Bianco Polare, therefore represents the central chromatic element used for the floor, altars, stairs and some of the furniture. Its purity enhances the essential design of the church and becomes an expression of a strong architectural spirituality that works through aesthetic subtraction.