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Saint Massimiliano Kolbe Church

The white hemispherical form of this church is unexpected given its suburban and northern Italian setting.

Short circular columns between the surrounding pools of water and curved, white cladding panels provide no clues to the interior timber that supports the structure. All interior surfaces of the hemisphere are timber lined, with a fully exposed triangulated glue-laminated timber dome supporting structure. Primary triangulating ribs and horizontal members between them are stained white to match the lining behind. Their curved profiles follow exactly the spherical geometry enclosing the main congregational space. Relative to the size of the enclosed volume, member sizes are small and lack any sense of being over-bearing. In most buildings, connections between timber members are concealed, but, here, the architect has chosen to celebrate the joints between primary members. These joints are open to the light and, although the cladding prevents light from passing through, they decorate the interior. It is uncommon for connections that make sense both structurally and from a constructional perspective to become such a significant contributor to the architecture.