Brief Post | Gaetano Pesce’s Church of Solitude


Gaetano Pesce was born in La Spezia, Italy in 1939. His most famous building is the “Organic Building” in Osaka. But Pesce‘s work we found most interesting is the Church of Solitude, designed between 1974-1977 at the utopic years where different European architects were travelling to New York, seeing it as a field for experimentation.

Publication excerpt from The Changing of the Avant-Garde: Visionary Architectural Drawings from the Howard Gilman Collection, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2002.

“Gaetano Pesce’s Church of Solitude was conceived in reaction to his experience of New York in the 1970s, where he saw people living together, “helter-skelter in crowds.” To provide a serene place for introspection and contemplation, he buried the church beneath a vacant lot amid the towers of the city. The silent sanctuary incorporated small individual cells, a further retreat from the city’s corporate and institutional culture. An excavated landscape was, for Pesce, an overlooked space that could provide for people’s future needs.”

Bevin Cline and Tina di Carlo


Pesce, Gaetano 1974-77

We can read in an interview published at ICON Magazine, that Pesce talks about architecture in these words:

Today architecture is very monolithic and totalitarian. It is standardised, and the standard is a fact – facts are for movements like Marxism or Communism, where they try to say everybody has to think in the same way. In politics that way of looking at the world is over but in architecture the International Style is more or less still there. The modern movement, which became a kind of minimalist movement, is unthinkable for representing the complexity of our time. The message you receive from these buildings is that there is no room in society for difference. And we call our age pluralistic.



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