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San Pier Damiani is a 20th and 21st century parish and titular church with a postal address at Via Guido Biagi 16 in the suburb of Casal Bernocchi, south of the Via del Mare. This is in the Acilia Sud suburban zone. The main entrance is on the Piazza San Pier Damiani.
The dedication is to St Peter Damian.
The parish was erected in 1962, and its church was designed by Attilio Spaccarelli. It was opened in 1970, five years before the death of the architect. It was his last work at Rome, and unfortunately was was sub-standard. The building failed structurally, allowing serious water ingress, and had to be substantially rebuilt from 1998. This rectification was supervised by Roberto Panella from 1998, and the church was re-consecrated in 2002.
The church was made titular as a diaconate in 1973. The title is San Pier Damiani ai Monti di San Paolo. The present cardinal deacon is Agostino Vallini.
Layout and fabric Edit
The plan is based on a square with small squares cut out of the corners, and the elevation is quite high so that the edifice amounts to a cuboidal box. The eight vertical strips in the fabric created by the incut corners in the plan are occupied by window-strips with anodized blue glass, and the exterior walls are otherwise blank. They are of red brick, with two large vertical tie-beams on each side dividing the wall into three equal-sized areas and one horizontal recessed beam running across each wall halfway up.
The roof is almost flat, with four very shallow triangular pitches meeting at a flèche formed of four incurved metal beams bearing a cross finial. The edge of the roof has a safety railing made up from horizontal steel bars, and this somewhat spoils the appearance of the building.
To the right is a separate block comprising the parish centre, priests' accommodation and social facilities. In the gap between this and the church is a low range containing the ferial or weekday chapel (this is a simple room of little artistic interest).
The church stands on a crypt, and so is on a platform approached by a long set of steps ending in a patio. The stairs originally had municipal flower-beds on each side, but the left hand set has been sacrificed for a very necessary wheelchair ramp.
The entrance frontage has no porch for the single large doorway, and the only decoration on it is a window in blue glass in the shape of an eight-pointed star formed by superimposing two squares and containing a cross.
The interior is one simple cuboidal space. The inner walls have the same fabric pattern as the exterior ones, with concrete beams (two vertical and one horizontal) in each wall painted black and the wall surfaces rendered in an off-white. The corners are each occupied by two window strips forming a return angle, and the anodized glass in them lets through a yellowish light (the interior illumination has to rely on artificial lighting).
The suspended ceiling is made up of rectangular panels, some deeply coffered, and the contrasting floor is in dark brown tiles.
The sanctuary is assembled from elements in polished honey-coloured limestone, and includes a raised platform with three steps. On this is the free-standing altar with seating for the ministers ranged against the far wall, flanked by a pair of pot-plant holders (Roman church-goers like pot plants in their churches, although it is unusual for architects to make provision for them). The lectern or ambo is on its own little platform that juts out to the left.