Church of the Penitent Thief, San Lazzaro di Savena

Taking a cue from the archetypal image of a church, the design seeks an architecture devoid of virtuosity, to loyally reflect the essence yet be immediately readable: sober, solemn, but not monumental. It echoes the mysticism of everyday life. The perimeter of the new church is defined by walls that bend and slide off each other, evolving into large half-open doors that signal two points of access to the main hall, in addition to the main entrance. A continuous crack from heaven to earth and running along the entire roof, cuts and splits the building’s shell, revealing the presence of the sky. This symbolic gash in the veil of the temple, is intimately connected to the naming of the new Church of the Penitent Thief and to the redemption message that it seeks to convey. The message of liberation and redemption, linked to the figure of the Penitent Thief, is also reinforced by the decision to involve inmates at the La Dozza prison of Bologna in the construction phase of the complex.

What makes this project one-of-a-kind?
A continuous crack from heaven to earth and running along the entire roof cuts and splits the buil-ding’s shell, revealing the presence of the sky.


INOUTarchitettura, LADO architetti, LAMBER+LAMBER

Parish of San Lorenzo del Farneto

Simone Bossi

Year of completion

San Lazzaro di Savena (Bologna), Italy

Total area
4.935 m2

Gross floor area
1.056 m2

Project Partners

C.I.M.S. SCRL – Cooperativa Intersettoriale Montana Sassoleone, Prosapio Patrick Service srl, Fastimpianti SNC, Donati Impianti srl, Delisari Materia Design s.r.l.s., La Nova SAS, Weitzer Parkett, Prefa

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