Giuseppe Rinvolucri

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Giuseppe Rinvolucri was an Italian engineer and architect, the designer of the "extraordinary parabolic-arched Roman Catholic church at Amlwch" [1] on the isle of Anglesey, Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Winefride.

Rinvolucri came from an engineering background in Piedmont. He married a Welsh woman after coming to Britain as a prisoner of war during World War I.[2]

In the 1930s he was living in Glan Conwy and designed Catholic churches in Amlwch, Porthmadog, and Abergele. He also designed the remarkable[peacock term] St Teresa's Church in Princes Risborough. The Catholic churches in Porthmadog and Amlwch have been described as 'radical essays in reinforced concrete' – Porthmadog the 'less dynamic one, – an ungainly church of 1933' and Amlwch, – 'a particularly elegant parabolic building.'

The Amlwch church has attracted critical praise. The Pevsner Buildings of Wales guide called it 'a piece of Italian architectural daring of the 1930s' – 'a soaring reinforced concrete and brick vault formed on six arches, expressed as ribs externally and internally, with a conical apse. Three transverse bands of glazing in geometric trefoils of white and blue. Five glass stars (made in France) perforate the East wall round the apse.' Rinvolucri's team of builders constructed the innovative parabolic vault in six months in 1935. The same guide called it Futurist, ' closer to Freyssinet's 1920s airship hangars at Orly, Paris, than to Catholic Church design', and unlike the conservatism of Anglesey building.[3]


  1. ^ The Buildings of Wales, Gwynedd, p.8 - Richard Haslam, Julian Orbach, Adam Voelcker, Yale University Press ISBN 978-0-300-14169-6
  2. ^ "Work starts to restore Amlwch's iconic Catholic Church". BBC News. 5 July 2010.
  3. ^ The Buildings of Gwynedd, Yale University Press, p.8,82,93,322,499