A prestigious prize for sacred architecture has been awarded to the American architect Richard Meier for the church of Dio Padre Misericordioso at Tor Tre Teste in Rome. The award from the Pavia based Franciscan foundation "Frate Sole" is made once every four years to an architect who has contributed, in that period, to the best Christian work in modern architecture.
The church at Tor Tre Teste, which was inaugurated in October 2003, was part of Pope John Paul II's project of 50 new churches for Rome for the millennium. The unorthodox design has three large curved external walls in pure white reinforced concrete resembling three sails and the austere interior is flooded with natural light.
Meier is also responsible for the design of the new museum complex in Rome to house the Ara Pacis, or Altar of Peace, built for the Roman Emperor Augustus between 13 and 9 BC to commemorate the peace after the Gallic and Spanish campaigns. The design of the Meier prpoject has caused much controversy but is now due to be completed in spring 2005.