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Architecture of Light: From St. Peter’s Basilica to Three Modernist Spaces

May 21, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Inspired by Marco Anelli’s photo installation of St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City) at Saint Peter’s Church (NYC), this lively panel discussion explores light as architecture in three modern spaces: Saint Peter’s Church, Magazzino Italian Art, and Rothko Chapel. Miguel Quismondo, Adam Yarinsky, and Angela Wolf Scott form our panel, moderated by Caitlin Watson. RSVP via Eventbrite.

As a photographer, Marco Anelli continues to seek out inspiring examples of shadow and light: elements that, when perfected, evoke an emotional and spiritual response in an architectural setting. When that setting is St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, the result is nothing short of awe. Anelli’s current exhibition at Saint Peter’s Church, Saint Peter’s: Views from Church and Basilica, features his photography project as the official Vatican Restoration photographer. The Basilica is juxtaposed with the interior of another Saint Peter’s – this one with interiors by Lella and Massimo Vignelli. This compare and contrast between historic and modern examples of architecture is what guides our panel discussion.

But how does light work in general, especially in other celebrated modernist spaces? In this panel discussion, we explore how the designers of three such spaces – Saint Peter’s Church in New York City, Magazzino Italian Art in Cold Spring, NY, and Rothko Chapel in Houston, TX – integrated the setting’s natural light to fascinate, inspire contemplation and reflection, and enhance the interaction between visitors and the content of the space.

Panelists include:
– Miguel Quismondo, AIA, Founder and Principal of MQ Architecture, designer and builder of Magazzino Italian Art, leading the redevelopment of water-damaged areas in Saint Peter’s Church
– Adam Yarinsky, FAIA, Cofounder and Principal of Architecture Research Office, leader of the restoration of Rothko Chapel
– Angela Wolf Scott, AIA, Principal and CEO of MacDonald & Mack Architects (licensed in the State of Minnesota), historic preservation consultant and leader of Saint Peter’s Church Sanctuary Restoration

The panel will be moderated by Caitlin Watson, AIA, board member of The Architecture, Culture and Spirituality Forum (ACSF), and writer on public space, focusing on the intersection of art and architecture.

This panel was inspired by “Saint Peter’s: Views from Church and Basilica”, an exhibition at Saint Peter’s Church featuring Marco Anelli’s black-and-white photographs of St. Peter’s Basilica, paired with three large prints of his portraits of the church’s Vignelli-designed sanctuary organ following its restoration.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. The panel starts at 7:00 p.m., with a reception and open-house to follow.

Presented by Saint Peter’s Church and The Arts and Architecture Conservancy at Saint Peter’s.

Learn more about Saint Peter’s rebuilding and another Design Week event, “Vignelli Legacy: A Celebration at Saint Peter’s” on May 20, 2024, at

About the Anelli Photo Installation

Saint Peter’s: Views from Church and Basilica

This photography installation features images of two iconic spaces named Saint Peter’s. Each is captured by Marco Anelli at the time of their respective restorations. Anelli’s work engages climactic moments in the life of his subjects, from classical music and architectural milestones to his portraiture, as with participants in Marina Abramovic’s The Artist Is Present at MoMA in 2010.

Newly-taken photographs of the Church’s Vignelli-designed organ (Klais 1977 — C.B. Fisk 2023), restored and reinstalled following a devastating flood in 2021, are juxtaposed with images from Anelli’s study of architectural shadow and light, taken over the course of a two year period during the extensive cleaning of St. Peter’s Basilica (Vatican City) just before the millennium jubilee.

Those who know the artist well may note a further parallel: Anelli photographed the construction of Magazzino Italian Art, another project infused with shadow and light, inspired by Saint Peter’s own designers Lella and Massimo Vignelli, and conceived by Alberto Campo Baeza and Miguel Quismondo, the architect behind the soon-to-be-rebuilt flooded spaces below the Church’s sanctuary.

The exhibition runs through June 9, 2024.

For more on the artist, please find his bio here.


May 21
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Event Category:


Manhattan - Midtown East + West
Business Name
Saint Peter's Church


Saint Peter’s Church
619 Lexington Avenue
New York City, 10022 United States
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