San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy

Padre Pio Pilgrimage ChurchRenzo Piano Building Workshop

Church Padre Pio San Giovanni Rotondo


The magnificent pilgrimage church dedicated to Pio of Pietrelcina, commonly known as Padre Pio, was designed by Architect Renzo Piano and features an impressive roof structure that reigns over the building and extends to ground level. 24 large emergency exits were to be inserted into the roof. These would have to work manually as well as motor-driven. To blend in perfectly with the solemn elegance of the church, no mechanisms were to be visible and the finish of the doors was to match the roof on the outside as well as the interior wall plaster finish. A classic up-and-over opening would have been too common and too dangerous as any outward projection of the door leaf in case of an emergency could potentially harm by- passers outside the building. Capoferri therefore engineered a combination of a pivot and lifting mechanism that would allow the doors to retract while lifting upwards. A full size mock-up was built in Capoferri which had to undergo over 10,000 opening cycles, under the constant scrutiny of a webcam installed by the Authorities that had to certify its use as an emergency exit.

PROJECT:
Renzo Piano Building Workshop

CLIENT:
Fabbrica della Chiesa dei Frati Cappuccini

PLACE:
San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy

YEAR:
2003

NOTE:
Custom-built automated portals and emergency exits.

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