Recovery of a former monastic complex to accommodate new school spaces
In a built context full of additions of different periods and architectural styles, which over time compromised the integrity and spatial quality of the Saint-Bénin complex, the project takes a clear stance: free-up the space.
Freeing-up the space means acting mainly by subtraction, by substitution of parts, by punctual and conscious additions (although distinguishable). It also means reflecting on the logic of distribution and organization, adapting the program to the constraints imposed by the existing layout, while guaranteeing a flexibility of use typically required by educational spaces.
These intentions are reflected in precise design choices. The front of the church is liberated by additions; the insertion of foreparts on the historical fronts is avoided; inside the existing building a series of punctual devices redefine spatial continuity: between the internal environments (classroom-corridor partitions), between the various levels and buildings (the existing staircase and the connection with the Chabod boarding school are redesigned), and between inside and outside (the portals, the thresholds, the volumes on the roof).
The work on the Saint-Bénin is characterized by a delicate balance between respect for the monument and the need to declare the new intervention; between conservation of spatial qualities and the need to update spaces for new uses.
A system of punctual interventions characterized by a common vocabulary and recurring materials restore unity to the Saint-Bénin complex.
Client: Comune di Aosta
Status: Competition – Second prize
Team: Simona Della Rocca, Alberto Bottero, Alina Salahoru
Site: Aosta, Italy