Santa Maria del Carmelo a Mostacciano is a late 20th century parish and titular church at Piazza Beata Vergine del Carmelo 10, in the zone of Torrino north-west of the junction between the Via Pontiana and the Circonvallazione Meridionale of the Grande Raccordo Anulare.
The official name of the church is simply Santa Maria del Carmelo, but a suffix is needed because of the other churches in Rome with this dedication (this is the only one with a parish).
The cardinalate title is different: Santa Maria del Monte Carmelo a Mostacciano.
The parish was erected in 1974 and given into the care of the "Calced" Carmelite friars, hence the dedication.
A chaotic design Edit
The church has a post-modern design. The plan is difficult to describe, being formed from arcs and trapezoids brought together in an unpredictable and asymmetric way, so that a glance at Google Earth is perhaps essential to grasp it. The design components of the fabric are also "odd", and do not correspond to simple geometric forms.
This weirdly designed building really has to be seen to be believed.
The edifice is part of a sports and social centre, and is central to the layout of the other buildings on the site.
Entrance loggia Edit
The anchor of the design is a long, thin transverse unit shaped like an isosceles trapezoid with the angled ends pointing backwards. This is the entrance loggia. It has a flat roof, with a tall horizontal vane in white concrete along its back roofline which comes down both short sides as two parallel pairs of sloping vanes. This entrance loggia has several sub-units attached. The ends of the frontage each have a parallelogram-shaped unit on an axis parallel(ish) to the respective angled side, and between the right hand one of these and the main entrance is an ellipsoidal sector-shaped structure with a curved frontage. This is the ferial chapel.
The church has two identical campanili, which are each a transverse rectangular metal frame containing a row of three bells. They are placed on the far roofline of the loggia, in between the pairs of sloping vanes
Main church Edit
The main church has a plan made up of a long arc, not circular, starting from the bottom left hand side of the entrance loggia and sweeping round the back of the sanctuary. From about a quarter of the way along this as far as behind the altar the roofline is occupied by a very tall and thin white concrete vane, and as this curves round it increases in height above the roof until it is about one and a half times as high as the church behind the altar. There it is chopped off vertically, and is terminated by a concrete pillar bearing a black cross as a finial. The arc continues, until it is also terminated just to the right of the altar by two straight walls occupying the right hand side of the church, and meeting at an oblique inward-pointing angle.
Beyond these straight walls is sacristy and ancillary accommodation, partly glass-roofed and having a right-hand exterior frontage of two white concrete bowed arc walls. The lower right hand one of the pair is further out than the other, and overlaps it.
The far one of the two straight walls just mentioned is continued as a free-standing white concrete wall to join an ancillary building beyond the right hand side of the sanctuary.
The fabric of the church is all in poured concrete, either white or stained so as to resemble travertine limestone. The latter is the case at the entrance.
The concrete roof is curvaceous. There is a tipped back, vaguely lenticular zone over the sanctuary, with its right hand end chopped off by the far straight wall mentioned. From the curved near edge of this zone, the roof curves down and then up again to the entrance trapezoid and so performs a billow.
The flat-roofed entrance loggia has a void in between the two outwardly-angled blocks which flank it. This contains three design elements. To the left is the actual entrance, with a short flight of steps within and a floating concrete canopy with a slight downward transverse curve. A wall forming a sector of a cylinder curves back from the midpoint of the right hand side of this canopy, forming the left hand side of an extension of the outside patio under the loggia roof. The third design element is the ferial chapel for weekday Masses, which has a curved glass wall arcing from the right hand flanking block of the loggia and into the void of the latter. Note that the roofline of this chapel has a drooping curve.
The frontage of the church in the far side of the loggia is in glass.
The Carmelite order began in the 12th century with a colony of Latin-rite hermits on the hilly promontory of Carmel in the Holy Land. They lived in caves, and the interior of this church is an allusion to this. The lighting is a little dim, and the wall and ceiling surfaces are in shuttered concrete stained a honey colour to resemble limestone. Overall, there is little colour.
The roof dominates the interior. The zone over the sanctuary is tipped back, and has an outwardly curved edge where it joins onto the nave zone. This performs an enormous sagging curve, down and then up again to the entrance. The side wall to the right does not join the curve, but leaves a gap for a window strip. This has a horizontal lower edge, and follows the curve of the ceiling with its upper edge. Below this fenestration is a floating concrete canopy which shelters a recessed area containing the octagonal font and the Stations of the Cross.
The sanctuary is asymmetrically furnished. The curved back wall has a transverse rectangular pier supporting the roof just in front of it, on which hangs a traditional wooden crucifix -offset, not central. To the left of this the wall is in concrete, and to the right in glass.
The nave seating is arranged fanwise to face the altar, set a little to the right in the sanctuary space which is raised on a stepped platform.
The entrance arrangements are vaguely symmetrical within. The main entrance porch, one piece of concrete shaped rather like a stretched single-arched bridge, runs into the actual interior of the church and is matched by a similar shelter which is over the egress into the ferial chapel. The little cylindrical-sector structure next the main entrance is revealed as a little chapel of Our Lady.
Mass is celebrated (parish website, June 2018):
Weekdays 9:00, 18:30;
Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 10:00, 11:30, 12:30, 18:30.
Times might change in summer.
There is a subsidiary parish church: Santa Maria Stella Maris a Mostacciano.