Sant’Andrea Avellino is a late 20th century parish church, built in the Ottavia suburban zone at Via Ascrea 24/A. This address is in a small extension of Ottavia, just south-east of the junction of the Via Trionfale and the Grande Raccolta Anulare (Circonvallazione Settentrionale). The church itself is up a long driveway from the road.
The parish was erected in 1981.
The permanent church was designed by Roberto Panella in collaboration with "A. Costantino" (which one), begun in 1993 and opened in 1996.
The actual church is octagonal in plan, but is part of a single large edifice containing parochial and social facilities. The site slopes steeply back from the entrance courtyard, and these ancillary wings take advantage of the topography by having two levels
There are two of these ancillary wings, with rectangular cores having major axes parallel to the far diagonal sides of the octagon. These basic units in the plan of the ancillary wings are supplemented by additional areas, defined by extending the line of the entrance frontage of the octagon to either side. To the left, the frontage turns by 120 degrees to join the near short end of the rectangular unit. To the right, it turns at a right angle to join the rectangular unit on this side halfway along its near short length.
The two rectangular units have their far short sides meeting at a corner behind the far altar side of the octagon. In the triangular void thus created stands a campanile.
The ancillary wings either side of the church frontage are single storey, but the main rectangular units are two-storey because of the slope. The left hand one is a simple two-storey block, but the right hand one is divided along the major axis of the rectangle into a two-storey part next to the church and a one-storey part fronting it and with a roof terrace on top.
The church itself is rather low, but is higher than the flat roofs of the ancillary wings on either side. It is actually two-storey as a structure, but you have to go inside to appreciate the overall design.
The fabric is in blank pink brickwork of high quality, mostly concealing a reinforced concrete frame. Each corner of the octagon above the ancillary wings is incut below a deep eave at an angle of 120 degrees, and one side of the recess thus created contains a rectangular window. In front of the recess is an exposed grey concrete structural column supporting the roof. The longitudinal sides of the octagon contain a large rectangular window each.
The roof itself is the major design feature of the church. It is in laminated wood, and its pitches are in the form of an octagram (eight-pointed star) within the octagon of the plan. There is a central square skylight.
The tower campanile is on the plan of a right-angled triangle, with the hypotenuse facing along the major axis of the church. It is in the same pink brick as the rest of the church, and has two walls occupying its far each of which has a wide vertical strip cut out of its entire length. A concrete platform forms the floor of the bell-chamber, and the top is flat with a cross finial. The side facing the entrance is in glass, and is fronted by an enormous concrete cross the horizontal arm of which is the near edge of the bell-chamber platform.
The church is located in a pleasantly secluded area with many mature trees, and has open country down the slope to the right. The driveway leads you to a spacious entrance piazza paved in white brick, which has pink bricks forming a pattern including a central motif involving a star within an octagon. This obviously echoes the structure of the church.
The façade walls have a low concrete plinth, but are otherwise in blank brick. The ancillary wings each have an incut flat-topped recess at 120 degrees, containing a entrance. The church frontage has an external flat-roofed porch with three sides, the two diagonal sides on the lines of the near diagonal sides of the church. The central wall of the porch has a large doorway flanked by a pair of thin window strips, and the two diagonal sides have a smaller doorway each.
The frontage wall of the church above the porch has a square window, with four lines of brick mullions giving a cross motif.
The two-storey interior is dominated by the roof, which is in varnished and laminated pine boarding with deep coffering in the form of an octagram fitted within the octagon of the church. There is a central square skylight.
Like the exterior, the inside walls are entirely in pink bricks. The floor is in polished travertine limestone slabs in a light brown colour, with a rectangular pattern in a darker brown.
The roof sits on an octagonal ring beam in grey concrete, which is supported by eight concrete columns at the corners (you can see these in the corners of the exterior fabric). In the second storey, the columns are hidden by triangular bastions in the corners, each of these having an angles of 120 degrees and with a rectangular window in one face. These windows are in clear glass. The counterfaçade wall has a square window, the altar wall a round one and the two longitudinal side walls a large rectangular window each.
The first and second storeys are separated by a second concrete ring beam, over which the second-storey triangular bastions jut. Below them the supporting columns are exposed. Each side of the church's octagon in the first storey forms three sides of a smaller octagon in plan, which is concave. The central wall of each of these recesses has its brickwork laid decoratively, in the form of a raised concave panel containing a four-pointed star.
Thus, the actual overall plan of the first storey is that of an eight-pointed star with the points truncated.
The lower ring beam has its length behind the altar raised slightly, with a little staircase molding underneath each angle thus created. Does this beam contain rebar?
The appearance of the interior is dominated by the materials used -wood for the roof, brick for the walls and stone for the floor.
Despite the octagonal plan, the seating arrangements are traditional with the pews facing the sanctuary at the back of the church. The sanctuary area is defined by a raised semi-circular platform with three steps. The altar, lectern and bench seating for the ministers are in travertine limestone.
The round window above the sanctuary has stained glass featuring the Madonna and Child, and the two large side windows also have stained glass. The counterfaçade window has clear glass.
There is an old portrait in oils of the patron saint, St Andrew Avellino, to the left of the sanctuary.
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 18:00 (19:00 in summer);
Sundays and Solemnities 8:30, 11:00 (only one Mass at 10:00 in summer).