Cappella della Società delle Missioni Africane is a later 20th century convent chapel at Via della Nocetta 111 in the Gianicolense suburban zone.
The chapel is private.
The Society of African Missions (Società delle Missioni Africane) is a society of apostolic life of French origin, dedicated to mission work in Africa as well as in the African diaspora. It was founded by Melchior-Marie-Joseph de Marion-Brésillac in 1856.
A new purpose-built Generalate or headquarters was begun in Rome in 1960, and completed in 1965. The architect was Attilio Lapadula, and the complex is perhaps his most important work in Rome (also see, however, San Lorenzo da Brindisi del Collegio dei Cappuccini).
It is convenient to refer to the Generalate as a convent, but it should be remembered that the members of the Society have the status of secular priests and are not consecrated religious.
The complex stands some way back from the street, which was originally a country lane running along the boundary wall of the Villa Doria Pamphilj . It consists of two huge five-storey blocks at right angles to each other, in the form of an L. In between these edifices, and connecting them, is a three-storey octagonal block with a shallow saucer dome, and this contains the convent's entrance hall.
However the site has a pronounced slope, and the architect has used this to put the first two storeys of these edifices below ground level on the street side. This means that the entrance hall mentioned is actually in the top, third storey of the octagon and the driveway from the street runs straight to its door.
The chapel is on the other side of this octagonal block, on the same axis as the driveway. You can see its conical roof peeping over the saucer dome roofing the entrance hall.
The edifices of the complex, including the chapel, have concrete frames with infill in pink brick. The chapel has a dodecahedronal (twelve-sided) plan, with each angle marked by a concrete pier. Exposed concrete beams connect these in a girdle around the chapel, about halfway up. The piers are flanked by narrow vertical window strips, and horizontal strips are inserted just under the roofline.
The back two sectors of the twelve sectors of the dodecahedron in the plan have longer radii, and so these form a sanctuary apse. The exposed sides of this apse are a pair of massive slab piers.
The roof is in a light greenish-grey, and has a steeply conical central zone surrounded by twelve shallow pitches. Two of the latter cover the apse, and each of the twelve has a window strip halfway up. The twelve sectors are separated by beams forming vanes, which support a cylindrical cog-wheel lantern wiith a ball-and-cross finial.