The first little town of the Focolare Movement, Loppiano, is one of the most beautiful places in Valdarno, Italy not only because of the people who live there or because of the message they spread, but also because of the natural surroundings and the style of the buildings and streets that betrays an architectural design which is certainly not accidental. In Loppiano even the stones “speak” and tell of a life that is helping the world to become a family, even in its outward design.
What better place then, to accommodate forty architects eager to capitalize on their professional experience in the service of universal brotherhood? Said and done: The group met from the 11th to 13th of June for a seminar dedicated to deepening understanding and relationships through a sharing that became a study, mutual enrichment, and concrete work proposals for the future.
The title itself tells the three strands along which the reflection grew:
The journey, designed as an opportunity for meeting and respect between cultures which is then expressed in living with traditional and innovative architectural forms.
The theme of dialogue drew participants into reflecting on the meaning of labor as a long process that involves the people, workers, and all those who in various ways, participate in a project.
The reflection on the fragment revealed a world that is made of fragments more than of coherent pieces, challenging the participants in the reconstruction of the details from such differentials, through appreciation for diversity as a contribution to unity.
The real “cement” in these sessions were the moments of sharing, the evenings spent together, the mealtimes, and the moments of recreation. Everything contributed to a better grasp of the specific contribution of Chiara Lubich’s charism to architecture, both at the operational level and in theory, showing that the quest just begun will only lead to more new developments, as Maria Emmaus Voce – current president of the Focolare – hoped in her message to the participants, “for the good of the city and its inhabitants, so that even the architecture in each of its dimensions, supports the realization of God’s plan, for which Chiara spent her entire life: to make humankind into one human family.”