the fluid form of the san giacomo church
EMBT / benedetta tagliabue unveils the sculptural ‘san giacomo apostolo’ church and parish complex in the northern italian city of ferrara. sited in the city’s arginone neighborhood, the ambitious project was completed after ten years of development. at once, the structure is defined by its undulating, suspended rooftop, whose sculptural form takes influence from that of a hot air balloon. this roof structure informs the complex, abstracted volume with its curving brick walls. see designboom’s coverage of the project’s construction early last year here.
benedetta tagliabue celebrates hot air balloons over ferrara
with the design of its san giacomo church, benedetta tagliabue / EMBT (see more here) integrates nature into every facet. from the exterior, visitors observe a light building made up of organic forms, surrounded by a grove of slender trees. the space is accessed by way of two lateral paths that lead to a natural design square in front of the church, which acts as a meeting point and symbolizes the center of two large arms which open outward to the ferrara community.
benedetta tagliabue, founder and director of benedetta tagliabue / EMBT comments on the design of the project: ‘the inspiration came one day when we were analyzing the territory and the environment, when we saw the sky of ferrara full of hot air balloons for the international festival that is held every year in september.
thus, we imagine a light and friendly church, which comes from heaven and is located in the place where the christian community needs it most, a contemporary church, rich in strength and symbolism, surprising and familiar at the same time, inspired by the early days of the church.’
a modulated material expression
benedetta tagliabue / EMBT modulates the materials and the construction system differently to characterize the various programs of the san giacomo church. with the same materials it has been possible to work from the most monumental space, the church, to the spaces of the parish complex, with a more domestic aspect.
the facades play with plaster and exposed brick placed in different arrangements and made to measure with a three-pointed design reminiscent of ferrara’s palazzo dei diamanti, a renaissance masterpiece. the temple is accessed through a large gate, built with a natural timber, a key material throughout the project — along the roof, in the furniture, and with the carpentry which expresses the shapes of trees.