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Red carpet!

Project of accessibility in the church of Saint Maria Maddalena

  • Client:
    Parish of Saint Maria Maddalena
  • Year:
  • Type:
  • Status:
  • Team:
    archt. Riccardo Russo
  • Location:
    Uggiano La Chiesa (Le) - Italy

The project aims to extend the access to the church by all its users, the believers and non, without compromising the overall vision of the church, overcoming the difference in height due to the presence of three steps that separate the churchyard from the square.
The project is claim to be an intervention to overcome architectural barriers and an adaptation to accessibility for people with disabilities. The first choice is correlated with the correct position of the ramp: this is placed by the side of the churchyard closest to the Town Hall because it is the point where the difference in height is smaller (hence a linear development lower than the ramp) and also less invasive both for the church and the Town Hall, because, within the urban context of Piazza Umberto I, is the most "marginal" corner of this.
The last choice was to split up the ramp into two independent and different elements in order not to have only one that would become too "present" compared with the monument. In so doing the overall perception of the church is not altered, and it preserves its compositional integrity.
The new ramp stands beside the entrance of the left aisle and consists of two distinct but architecturally unique ramps, minimally invasive and essential. The weathering steel profiles mould the essential elements of the ramp, while lightly bush-hammered and non-slip local stone slabs of varying dimensions, which are connected with the modularity of the stone slabs of the existing churchyard, design the pavement.
Lastly a full tubular handrail, placed at cm 60 from the planking level to follow the slope of the ramp, made of birch wood guarantees an easy walk along the ramps. The handrail is closed to its extremities by a cruciform weathering steel element that provides an adequate support.

translated by Irene Bonifacino