February 12th, 2009
James Robertson, the Rome Scholar in Architecture, is approximately half way through his period at the British School at Rome. His research on the ecclesiastical architecture of Jack Coia has revealed many parallels in the twentieth century churches of Rome. James writes
“I have been getting together a fairly comprehensive list of churches contemporary with Coia, and up to about 20 years earlier, as some of these earlier Italian buildings seem to have some similarities to those by Coia. There seem to be several distinct groups, or types of church, starting with a kind of brick neo-Romanesque, through to the neo-Classical, semi-rationalist / fascist, full-blown rationalist and then a group which does not seem to fit properly into any of the above! There is one in this group by a rather obscure architectural historian called Bruno Maria Appolonj-Ghetti. He designed a church in Rome called Ss. Martiri Canadesi, which Fellini used in his film ‘La Dolce Vita’.”
The church interior, then recently completed, is used in the film as the setting for an encounter between Marcello and his intellectual friend Steiner, who plays Bach’s Toccata and Fugue on the church organ.
James is also researching at the Scots College, searching for evidence of the influence of Rome-trained clergy on the architectural direction of the Archdiocese of Glasgow and their commissioning of Coia.