1week1project

Can you imagine Pope Benedict XVI sorting through his wine cellar in this halo-shaped retirement home?

What to do with a retired pope?

It's not an easily answerable question, given that very few popes have ever chosen to abdicate command. But Pope Benedict XVI turning in his papal pallium early has put the Vatican in a quandary (well, at least I'd like to imagine). Does the church owe him a retirement home on a lush Mediterranean island? Should it release him gently into the sunny pastures of Tuscany, where he will live on nuts and blood oranges and sleep in quiet dells with the deer until the Creator finally rings his number?

Or how about a super-swanky retirement home custom-suited for all his papal needs? That's what 1Week1Project has imagined with these hilarious renderings of Benedict's future crash pad, which is shaped like a halo and seems to glow from within. The members of the "spontaneous architecture" group, who are based in Santiago and Paris, produced these designs as part of an effort to imagine new building projects for each week in 2013. They write:

since leaving the vatican on february 28th, 85 year old benedict XVI lives in castello gandolfo, located 30 km away from rome. for his spiritual retreat, 1week1project proposes a house sitting on a roof close to piazza della rotonda. reinterpreting the halo's symbolic shape, the dwelling is organized around an atrium (central garden or courtyard) and offers a 360° view. the building will provide benedict XVI the necessary seclusion for praying, preserving a relationship with the surrounding world.

As you can see below, the doughnut-shaped domicile has everything a pope could want in his final years. There's a nook for praying, a walk-in closet for cloaks and varied vestments, a large dining table to entertain visiting cardinals and even a wine cellar. About that last feature, a commenter called Nicolas identifies a possible structural defect in the abode: "Load distribution will be important. I advise him to fill his wine cellar before going to pray."

Here's a few looks at the holy retirement home, called "Ciao Papam":

Renderings from 1Week1Project via Designboom.

About the Author

John Metcalfe
John Metcalfe

John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.

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