Animazione Testata



The project for the complex of the Federico II University in Via Mezzocannone, was an occasion to analyze a current theme about the transformation of the city: the relationship between the ancient city and the contemporary project. The essay focuses on: ''Building in the built'', with two main lines of response to the theme, one about the conservation, the other about the regeneration. The second approach is pursued: the contemporary becomes an expression of one's own age. We work through ''fragments'', that allows a re-reading of the context and the relationship with memory. The project for University's buildings is measured with the re-reading of the historical building and its relationship with the old center, through a strategy that works for punctual interventions, with new paths and functions.

Building in the built

A project for the University buildings in the historical center of Naples


Cinzia Didonna

Università degli studi di Napoli “Federico II”



The theme

The future of cities, characterized by the high density of constructions and the strong presence of historical and monumental buildings, comes to a theme: "building in the built"(1), that becomes imperative for the contemporary project. The discussion about the relationship between ancient and modern, leads to the responsibility of inserting a new architectural "fragment" with a new "life"(2), which in turn will undergo changes and modifying the context in which it lives.

Starting from the second post-war period, the problem of the reconstruction of the areas devastated by the war puts the debate on the legitimacy of the insertion of the “new” into the “old”. There were numerous meetings and conferences on the issue of restoration and reconstruction, but at the beginning of the Eighties the orientation matured the slogan "Building in the built", which identifies the theoric and practical attention about the historical theme in the context of the project. In 1984 B. Secchi wrote: "the space in which we will live the next few decades is largely already built. The theme is now to give meaning to the future through continuous modifications to the city, the territory, to existing materials"(3). Even today, the theoretical and operational trend, around thirty years after, is the feasible way in the international architectural scene, alongside environmental and land use issues.

There are two different approaches in response to the theme: on the one side, interventions that rely on the conservation of the existing, starting from the monuments and buildings considered significant, including the "urban fabrics", even of minor importance or quality constructive, developing building recovery and redevelopment techniques, aiming at reversibility and minimum impact; on the other side, interventions for renewal in response to today's needs, trusting in the possibility of contemporaneity to express themselves, as theorized by the Modern Movement, "every age has its own greatness" (Mies van der Rohe).

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Ultimo aggiornamento: 19/10/2018 09:55

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