Number 7
May 2020

The architecture of God.

Since ancient times sacred architecture has been conceived in the form of large stone monuments. Stone possesses solidity and durability, and the first builders used its essence symbolically. What is sacred is eternal, and stone is its concrete representation: from Stonehenge to the Egyptian pyramids, from Greek and Roman temples to Gothic cathedrals. The entire history of architecture is marked by this thought.
If beauty appears in the quality of the materials, the use of marble is the highest form of elegance in nature along with rare metals and gems. Yet Vitruvius, in the only treatise on Roman architecture known to us, states that monolithic columns and stone coverings are the excellence of the building art. After him, the great Renaissance architects pursued the same goal.
In the buildings of the early Christians, the widespread presence of stone elements (pillars, entablatures, furnishings) evokes the world of spiritual intimacy. Just as the soul of the faithful is noble, so is the interior of the church. While the exteriors can show a sometimes dimmed image (for example in the simple brick courses), the heart of the naves and transepts shows the splendour of the precious marbles, the solid columns, the precious and rare coverings.
The variety of stones and marbles – from indigenous to exotic ones – has always marked the history of styles. Here are the Romanesque whiteness of the Cathedral of Modena and the polychromy of its contemporary St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice; the laces of the Cathedral of Pisa and the inlays of the Baptistery of Florence; the Gothic of the Île-de-France and that of Germany. Finally, the Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces of the Italian peninsula.
Saint John Baptist
Cathedral of Saint John Baptist in Paterson, New Jersey
the Mormon Temple in Lisbon
The Mormon Temple in Lisbon
Temple hindu
The Hindu Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in London
In this line of continuity are the religious works by Ghirardi Marmi. Suffice it to mention the Cathedral of Saint John Baptist in Paterson, New Jersey, St. Stephen’s Church in E. Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Mormon Temple in Lisbon, the Sri Sendayan Mosque in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia, the Hindu Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in London. Among the most recent realizations, the church of Padergnone in Rodengo Saiano (Bs) shows a highly expressive use of marble inserts in the interior, as if to underline the organic profile of the structure and the strong character of the external ashlars. Once again the idea of sacredness is combined with the executive expertise of the human hand.
The Breccia “lombarda”
Breccia Aurora Classica is a precious material that is part of the Lombardy tradition as it is quarried inside the Brescia marble deposit.
Here the limestone relief, commonly known as “Corna”, gives rise to the production of the famous Botticino; but in the mining area – between Paitone and Gavardo – the Breccia Aurora Classica stands out for its almost Mediterranean chromatic characteristics. A sort of “homage” that Nature has offered just a short distance from the bright and vibrant landscape of Lake Garda.
Among the polychrome breccias, Breccia Aurora Classica presents a surprising tonal palette. The paste of the background fades into beige and straw-yellow shades, highlighting a weave of lively streaks ranging from hazelnut to olive colour; from orange to brick red veins. The result is a timeless image: precisely “classic” in visual perception and in the intrinsic quality of the material.

The pictorial effects of Breccia Aurora Classica allow the creation of refined compositions and precious backgrounds, in particular in the book-matched finish and in combination with other stones. Both in the design of modern buildings and for interventions in traditional architecture, Breccia Aurora Classica lends itself to a variety of creative solutions: from larger surfaces to furnishing details.

An example of its versatility are the refurbishment stoneworks that Marmi Ghirardi has carried out for the Sheraton Oman Hotel in Muscat. The combination of Breccia Aurora Classica with Breccia Marina Blu and the Bs Beige has created a spectacular setting in the interior, especially in the lobby, where the enveloping warm tones of the wall cladding dialogue with the soft airiness of the flooring and the powerful bases of the columns.

The Holy “Citadel”.

Masjidsi Masjid Sri Sendayan Mosque

Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

The Masjidsi Masjid Sri Sendayan Mosque in Negeri Sembilan, a city south of Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and recently open to worship, is located in a newly expanding area, between recently urbanized residential areas and a hilly landscape still unchanged; for this reason it is imposing, thanks to the majesty of its size, a strong identity to the entire area.

In fact, there is already talk of a new Taj Mahal, and the comparison derives from the monumental character of the architecture that evokes the splendour of the Indian mausoleum and that of the Ottoman mosques. The designer Zailan Yusop has configured a very pronounced profile thanks to the dome that stands out in the center of the building, but especially with the two very high minarets that accompany the facade as land marks.

Once again Marmi Ghirardi was able to interpret the building requirements of the client, not only by applying the highest quality standards, but also by elaborating with executive expertise the decorative scores that integrate the image of the Mosque.
Evidence of this are the large interior walls and columns elegantly clad in Breccia Aurora Classico open stain with Dark Emperador bands.
Of great impact is the staircase also made of polished Breccia Aurora Classico.
Thanks to cutting-edge technical processes, Marmi Ghirardi has combined the expectation of the final result with the ancient tradition of Islamic architecture, confirming its long experience in the treatment of stone materials and proving open to the most complex developments on the international market.
Thus in the reliefs that overlook the entrance hall, in the spandrels of the arches, in the many ornamental finishes of the exteriors, for which a limestone of Portuguese origin in a slightly dotted cream colour has been used.

The Mosque is organized almost like a sacred “citadel”, so the faithful leave the suburban dimension and enter an enclosure organized according to symbolic plans. The main entrance is marked by two turrets with clocks that mark the time for prayer. On either side, two buildings lead to the central garden where the fountains are placed for purification. A long portico closes the left side, acting as a diaphragm with the landscape. Finally, the arrival at the Mosque, which is preceded by another building element: an atrium with an open plan, covered by a stained-glass window and leading to the prayer room. The visual impact is marked by the dazzling whiteness of the entire architectural complex, from the base of the individual buildings to the top of the dome and minarets. This characteristic is therefore the stylistic feature of the Mosque, and the effect of material uniformity and symbolic coherence is due to the external mantel.


Negeri Sembilan,

Architectural design

Zailan Yusop


Stone contractor

Ghirardi team


Breccia Aurora Classica

Dark Emperador

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