Bologna studies

I have visited Bologna various times since 1994, at first due to the famous Finnish architect’s Alvar Aalto’s church in Riola, Bologna, and Aalto’s employment by one of the key figures in Vatican II, Giacomo Cardinal Lercaro.

To put Alvar Aalto’s church in Riola in context, I have documented the bolognese “Lercaro” churches in detail.

This documentation proved it necessary to get acquainted with modern Italian church architecture on the whole, not very well known internationally.

Therefore, in order to get a wider perspective of modern Italian church building before and after Vatican II, I have visited several other churches around the country. These churches include residential areas on the outskirts of Milan and Rome, as well as certain key places of modern church architecture in Italy.

This has resulted in an extensive knowledge of modern Italian church architecture, including architects like Giovanni Michelucci, Gio Ponti, Figini & Pollini, Giuseppe Vaccaro, Glauco Gresleri but also many others who are less known to the public.

Attention paid to less remarkable church building activity, especially in the above mentioned suburbs of Milan and Rome, has also revealed interesting issues, like certain typical patterns of building modest but functional churches outside architectural spotlights.

I have often travelled in Italy without my usual gears including my heavy tripod and the like. So, concerning Italy, there usually exists more knowledge than “excellent photographical” work. Concerning photography, some good exceptions exist.

A very friendly admission to study architect Glauco Gresleri’s important private archives on February, 2020 – when the coronavirus was already bringing down the whole of Bologna – brought to light interesting documents. My warmest thanks go to the Artist and Director Lorenzo Gresleri, who is currently taking care of his father’s archives, and to PhD Luigi Bartolomeo, who has promoted my Bolognese studies since 2008.

In order to understand in a more detailed way Cardinal Lercaro’s contribution to modern Catholic church architecture, I am looking forward to studying his role further on in Bologna. – Update: our application together with Arch. Sofia Singler from Cambridge to get access to the FSCIRE in Bologna has recently gone through.