XX Venice Architecture Biennale 2006. “Stone City” section.
Data: Oecumenical church for Catholic and Orthodox religions.
Multifunctional program: Church, congress centre, theology faculty, cloister, guestrooms, hotel, retail, info point.
Total built area: 22.000 sqm
Location: Bari, Italy.
Design: 2006.

Our project has the goal of reevaluating the coast of the historical Bari, Italy, devastated by abusiveness and political indifference.
It foresees the realization of a tourist welcome centre for visitors of the city of St. Nicholas, Catholic saint and one of the main figures of the Orthodox tradition.
The functional program combines a flexible liturgical space, able to host at the same time Catholic and Orthodox liturgies (with annex faculty of religion, cloister for monks), hotel, retail and a congress centre.
How to combine tourism with religion? How to combine the religious vocation of an historical city with the contemporary reality of money and consumerism? How can we drive the economical wishes of a brave local government and developers in a direction capable to respect and make use of the potentials of this area?
How to develop a design ethic for a religious program? Is it really true that pilgrimage and holy places don’t get to any compromise between our “God”, and money, the “Capitalists’ God”? Fatima, San Giovanni Rotondo, Lourdes, Medjugorie: places of pain and hope, or business temples? Which is the social and economical impact of religion and media on the urban structure of those places?
On this bases, NAUTA developed a project strongly based on the combination of sacral and profane in order to establish a critical research platform on the future of tourism.
Our strategy makes use of the stone, on base of two concepts: the “excavation”, memory of constructive tradition of tuff quarries from the south of Italy; the stone used as a “surface”, capable to adapt itself to the folds of the costal landscape. Emergences from the underground sign the great stone beach : patios and ramps to the underground world make the place a sort of contemporary archeological site, memento of many places of «Magna Grecia» that deeply influenced the history of Puglia.