The Renaissance of the Barete Gate


Year: 2020

Site: Italy - L'Aquila (AQ)

Client: Comune di L’Aquila

Program: Masterplan - 16.509 mq, Archeological area - 2.180 mq

Budget: 4.343.957 €

Status: Competition

Team: Architectural project: Dunamis Architettura - Architectural consulents: Arch. Sveva Di Martino, Arch. Jacopo Benedetti - Restauration Consulent: Prof. Giovanni Carbonara - Collaborators: Andrea Aternini, Olimpia Castellano, Arianna Graziano, Francesca Palmerini - Pictures: Mauro Mauriello

The primary objective of this project is the creation of an urban reconnection, an approach to the historical centre that restores value to what was for centuries the main point of arrival, reopening and reintegrating portions of the city walls and the now lost Barete Gate.

The path and alignment of each segment was reconstructed by interpreting the plan drawn up by Vandi in 1753. Outside the walls, the project reproposes the eighteenth century arrangement: excavations here exposed the old stone pavers, most likely from this period, allowing for an understanding of original levels and supporting the choice to refer to Vandi’s plan.

As no stone elements from the Gate were found in this area, this section was not reintegrated. Instead, the project introduces a system of temporary walkways in correspondence with the excavation site. Respecting the levels of the archaeological dig, they provide access to the historical centre from the Gate. The reconnection of levels along the sloping Via Roma is managed by a section that reproposes the slope of the eighteenth century stone pavers exposed during the dig, and successively, beyond the square in front of the Church of Santa Croce, by a stepping ramp designed to connect the level of the square with the current level of the road. Given the impossibility of closing Via Vicentini and Via Santa Croce to traffic, vehicular right of ways were narrowed a system of double speed humps introduced, paved like the surrounding pedestrian areas.

The city gate is to be recovered and valorised by reopening it and reintegrating the section lost in the wake of the realisation of the Via Roma overpass. The project extends this intervention along the entire length of the road in correspondence with Via XX Settembre, to ideally reconnect the missing section along the edge of the site and that along Viale della Stazione, with a double counterfort.

The gap will be filled by a pure volume, undercut with respect to the face of the masonry, to retrace the wall and the now lost tower. Reintegrations will be realised in cast in situ medium aggregate concrete, with inerts in selected stone. Hand poured in successive phases, the result will echo the appearance of the core of a wall stripped of its finish, with sub-horizontal irregularities simulating the courses of mortar that remain visible after an external finish has been lost.