Sant’Enrico is a very late 20th century parish church at Viale Ratto delle Sabine 7 in the suburb of Casal Monastero, which is just outside the Grande Raccordo Anulare (Circonvallazione Orientale) and between the Via Tiburtina and Via Nomentana. This is part of the Settecamini zone.
The patron saint is Henry II, Holy Roman Emperor.
The parish was set up in 1989 in response to new suburban development.
The church was designed by the partnership of Anna Maria and Carlo Bevilacqua, and completed in 1999 as part of a sports and social complex.
Layout and fabric Edit
Because it is part of a larger complex, the church itself has a limited external profile but actually has a basilical plan.
There is a central rectangular nave, continued by a structurally separate transept of the same width. There follows a semi-circular apse. Although the apse can be seen from a little garden round the back, both sides of the nave are occupied by large ancillary buildings of slightly lower elevation. In between the near end of the church and the formal entrance to the complex is a large entrance lobby for the latter on a square plan and as wide as the church.
The complex as a whole has walls in red brick around a concrete frame, and the roofs are all flat. The nave roof has a large prism skylight running its entire length along the major axis, giving most of the natural illumination. The apse roof is at the same level, but the transept roof is much higher to accommodate a second storey chamber.
The aisles are incorporated into the ancillary structures flanking the church. They end in large stained glass windows, and a pair of thin vertical window strips flanks the apse.
There is a tower campanile to the left of the altar, formed of two walls of pink brick set at right angles and bearing a cross of metal rods. The bells are hung from two concrete slabs, one beneath the other, inserted into the angle near the top.
The suburb is built on a very symmetrical grid plan, but it is noticeable from the map that the architects have deliberately aligned the major axis of the complex at a diagonal to the grid.
The complex has a very striking façade.
The flat roof of the entrance foyer (at the same level as that of the church) is extended as a horizontal canopy, and this is supported by a large horizontal beam just before the outer edge. This beam is in turn supported by two diagonal beams, running from close to each other at the entrance out to near the outer corners. Two vertical thinner beams support the inner part of the canopy from the same pair of ground anchor points. These beams look wooden (although they may be cladded).
Over the entrance itself under the canopy is a row of eight clear glass windows, occupying the width of the façade and having thin metal frames between them. Their tops are slightly curved.
The walls of the interior are in the same red brick as the exterior. However, the apse wall has the bricks loaf-shaped with curved faces, which gives a pleasant snakeskin effect. On this wall are hung three figurative paintings showing Christ the King with St Henry the Emperor is to the right, and Our Lady to the left.
The stained glass in the apse window strips and in the ends of the aisles is an abstract design in yellow and blue (mostly).
The aisles are supported by massive longitudinal concrete beams.
The interior is dominated by the roof. This is supported by large truss beams in unstained pine showing the knots, which spring from just above the aisle beams in bunches of three. The central one of each bunch intersects with horizontal double joists. The effect is rather overwhelming. Most of the natural light is from the prism skylight along the major axis of the roof, but there are also thin horizontal window strips at the tops of the central nave side walls.
The floor is in grey marble, with diaper squares in red along the major axis.
Mass is celebrated:
Weekdays 9:00 (Tuesday and Thursday only), 18:00 (19:00 in summer);
Sundays and Solemnities 10:30, 12:00, 18:00 (19:00 in summer).
Lauds and Rosary at 8:30, Monday to Friday.
There is Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Wednesdays from 9:30 to 12:00.