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September 16, 2022

In the spectacular location of the Teatro Olimpico, the winners of the 12th edition of the International Prize Dedalo Minosse for commissioning a building were revealed, this year’s edition is particularly meaningful as it coincides with the 25th anniversary of its establishment. ‘San Giacomo Apostolo’ Church and Parish Complex in Ferrara was conferred the Dedalo Minosse Segnalazione Laboratorio Morselletto (commended) award. In 2010, the Archdiocese of Ferrara asked Benedetta Tagliabue – EMBT Architects to design a new church with a blend of innovative and traditional features.

The church is a monumental public building of an unmistakably religious nature, as underlined by its archetypal forms. The undulating shape of the roof calls to mind the vaults in Romanesque and Gothic naves, which have been shifted into a radial arrangement with the altar in the centre. The entrance is marked in an equally symbolic way by the threshold and the large doorway.

The materials used are raw concrete and bricks. The copper roof has a vaulted structure and winds its way around an oculus depicting the scallop shell of Saint James, to whom the church is dedicated. There is a peaceful, contemplative air inside, which is enhanced by a complementary blend of holy relics from the previous church and furnishings designed by EMBT.

The client wanted to make the parish complex a catalyst for the local area and a new hub that will reinforce the identity of the community and encourage socializing, education and interaction. Consequently, the building was designed to be welcoming and open to people thanks to a light, organic approach to architecture that is deliberately contrasted with the massive, heavily material-based nature of historic buildings in Ferrara. A network of slender wooden shapes encloses the area, creating a secluded, friendly atmosphere. Everything revolves around the sculpturesque shapes of the building, which engages in interplay with the surrounding natural environment. The church is positioned on a spiritual and visual axis that leads to the city over the river, but it is accessed by two lateral axes that stretch out like two arms opening up to the community.

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