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Concert hall in the ruins of a church. Polish students' project awarded

Dobrawa Bies
12 of May '21

In the third edition of the competition organized by Re-use Italy, participants faced the task of transforming the ruins of the Italian church Chiesa Diruta into a concert hall. Among the submitted works was a project by Julia Giżewska and Jakub Jopek, along with Dr. Jerzy Wojewódka of the Silesian University of Technology, which won third prize!

The Italian landscape is full of forgotten historic buildings. The Re-use Italy cultural project aims to focus attention on this problem by promoting activities that show how old buildings can be brought back to life and begin the restoration process. The organization believes that the restoration of abandoned historic environments is a resource for Italy, and architectural projects should play a fundamental role.

The goal of the competition was to transform the church ruins into a concert hall

© Re-use Italy

forgotten church

Re-use Italy organizes international architectural competitions, aimed at both professionals and students of architecture, which aim to, give a new function and draw attention to historic ruins within Italy. This was also the case with the Reuse the Fallen Church - Chiesa Diruta competition. The task was to reuse a "fallen church" (Chiesa Diruta in Italian) - a forgotten church located in the deserted town of Grottole (Matera) in southern Italy. The organizers proposed transforming the ruins into a concert hall.

Chiesa Diruta is a Catholic church built in the 15th century, for the local clergy community, which was to become one of the most important churches of the bishopric. Unfortunately, the building suffered a lot of damage from earthquakes, fires and construction problems.

Miasteczko Grottole

Grottole town

© Julia Giżewska, Jakub Jopek, Dr. Jerzy Wojewódka

Third prize for Polish students

Theinternational jury composed of: Adam Nathaniel Furman, Emanuele Fidone, Assemble Architects, Diego Hernandez (ArchDaily), Simone Bossi, Graca Correia andRoberto Ragazzi (Correia Ragazzi Arquitectos), Andrea Paoletti (Wonder Grottole), Wenqiang Han (Archstudio), Eric de Broche des Combes (Luxigon), Jaume Mayol and Irene Pérez (TEd'A arquitectes), judged as many as 500 submitted projects. Among them was the work of Polish third-year students of the Silesian University of Technology's Faculty of Architecture. The jury awarded third prize to Julia Giżewska and Jakub Jopek!

We took part in the competition because we believe that the idea of reusing both things and space should be popularized more often in today's world," say the students of Silesian University of Technology.

Ścieżka prowadząca
do kościoła

Students designed a path through the city to the inside of the concert hall

© Julia Giżewska, Jakub Jopek, Dr. Jerzy Wojewódka

The awarded concept was made under the scientific supervision of Dr. Jerzy Wojewódka, prof. of the Silesian University of Technology.

As the authors say about the design idea:

The church was originally created to connect man with God and with each other. Everyone was to be equal in it and everyone was to have access to it, regardless of age or role in society. Chiesa Diruta can once again become a place open to people. It can become a temple of music, where many find a connection to the sacred....

The Italian church built in the 15th century, originally shaped by man, was taken over by nature. It was severely damaged in an earthquake, nature planted plants inside and eroded the walls, creating a mosaic of time on it. The student project Chiesa Diruta - Risveglia is a proposal that respects and emphasizes form shaped by both man and nature. It also aims to point out the rootedness in the Grottole landscape - physical and metaphysical.

Sklepienie sceny

vaulted main hall with oculus

© Julia Giżewska, Jakub Jopek, Dr. Jerzy Wojewódka

stages and grottoes of sound

The authors assumed a continuation of the path that runs along the church. The path of their design enters the interior of the building, emphasizing the inseparable connection between the church and the city. Upon entering the building, we find ourselves in the Main Hall. Its space can be arranged in different ways, depending on the event. Next to the entrance is the reception area - a corner empty space was used for this. In the side chapels, the authors placed grottoes of sound - rooms that allow listening to a concert or performance in a secluded, intimate space. The grottoes relate directly to the name, history and topography of the city.

Chiesa Diruta —
Risveglia, wnętrza Chiesa Diruta — Risveglia,

new life for a forgotten church

© Julia Giżewska, Jakub Jopek, Dr. Jerzy Wojewódka

The architects proposed five different scenes. The main scene - water and light - is located under a covered oculus. On the ground, its main area is marked by a shallow trough, reflecting the shape above it. When it rains, the basin fills with water, creating a shallow sheet that reflects sounds during the performance.

In this way, nature sometimes accompanies the performance, and sometimes only she plays her subtle concert - with raindrops, the authors add.

Sceny cienia

The architects also designed the sound grottoes

© Julia Giżewska, Jakub Jopek, Dr. Jerzy Wojewódka

On the sides of the main stage are side stages - two shadow stages, intended for the orchestra, which is supposed to be invisible during the performance, or for the narrator, who only uses his voice to guide the audience through the show. The main stage has its extension in the form of a light stage. Its back wall can be opened up, opening up a view of the beautiful panorama of the surrounding hills.

This is another moment where nature participates in the performance - watching the musicians against the landscape, the viewer experiences more and more fully. The opening emphasizes the connections to the city - the sounds emanating from the church permeate parts of it, quietly reaching the residents, the architects say.

Behind the light stage is the view stage - a narrow space that allows for outdoor performances. Meanwhile, to the left is the wind stage, which can also be used for outdoor performances.

Projekt Chiesa Diruta
— Risveglia

Chiesa Diruta - Risveglia project in the town of Grottole

© Julia Giżewska, Jakub Jopek, Dr. Jerzy Wojewódka

sound tower of the town

The space left by the former bell tower, the architects, used to create the City Sound Tower, a space from which one can listen to different music every day - the rhythm created by Grottole. The students also included in their design a café and bar, as well as technical rooms, situating them in the right side of the church, and on floors -1 (space for artists and administrative office) and -2 (dressing rooms and gift-shop).

See also the award-winning Theatre of Light project .


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