In the Tor Tre Teste neighbourhood, about six miles east of Rome stands a beautiful church especially interesting for those who love Modern architecture.
The Jubilee Church that is otherwise known as Chiesa di Dio Padre Misericordioso was created by the American architect Richard Meier to commemorate the 2,000th anniversary of Christianity. The church is located in the imposing white concrete structure which is dominated by the three sails, it is imagined as a composition of basic elements that clearly refer to the purity of the sphere and the cube.
The exterior of the church is traditional in its essence with a nave, altar, side chapel and confessional booths. Yet the most outstanding elements of the church are the three dramatic curved shell walls which ascend from the base of the church. These are made from concrete shells with a marble-like finishing. Materials used for the construction of the church are traditional Roman travertine and white marble-like concrete as well as glass and stucco.
The coating of the whole church was created with an idea to enhance the architect’s well-known trademark white sculptural forms, making it from a substance that essentially cleans itself which would allow for easier maintenance. However, what came as a surprise and is quite interesting is that the titanium dioxide which was used as the white pigment also has properties of destroying the surrounding smog.
The inspiration behind the Jubilee Church was mainly based on light, which streams into the interior area through strategically placed windows. The light that comes in is always changing, therefore, creating an always different atmosphere that goes from bright to gloomy which adds up to the spatial experience when inside it. The main source of light comes from the glass roof between the shells and at night the light within the church radiates, creating a powerful presence and a beautiful atmosphere. The interior is quite simple with almost no decorations but a single crucifix hanging over the altar and some furnishings that contribute to the elegance of the church. If you catch the sunset while being here you will experience the grand design of the sun rays illuminating the crucifix above the altar. All in all this church is considered to be the masterpiece of contemporary religious architecture.