The Church of Saint Paul the Apostle in Foligno, with its imposing cement geometry, forces the viewer – believer or not – to wonder about the meaning of Christian architecture of our time.
Designed by Massimiliano Fuksas and his wife Doriana, the church won the competition announced by the Italian Episcopal Conference in 2001, and was inaugurated in 2009 in an area where – until shortly before – the people displaced by the 1997 earthquakes that hit Umbria and Marche had lived in emergency housing units.
According to Jean Cocteau, “the life of shapes has nothing to do with forms of life”. One might legitimately disagree, but at the same time cannot be surprised that a worshipper is able to pray and receive communion in such a place – a reinforced concrete parallelepiped housing another parallelepiped, which in turns contains a central presbytery and an altar. A sacred building that does not conform to the traditional stylistic features of liturgical architecture.
The Rome-born architect – likely inspired by the Chapel designed by Le Corbusier in Ronchamp – created a church that the jury of the Italian Episcopal Conference’s competition described as innovative and in agreement with the most advanced international research.
All in all, this is a place where, according to Fuksas himself, one can “see the sky through the cement, from the outside, to the inside, to the outside”.