Title _ Un americano a Roma
Period _ 2023
Location _ Amatrice, Italy
Status _ 6th place, Two phased design competition

The design of public space in place of the foundations of the former church of San Giovanni in Amatrice is the foremost fundamental reason to reflect on the concept of context in architecture: acting where the reference of the surrounding locus has been lost imposes great clarity in the design choices of reference.
The three bases of our design reasoning were the trace of the forma urbis of Amatrice, that is, the Hippodamean grid of the founding city; the cast of the site of the lost church of San Giovanni; and the fragments of the church and buildings destroyed by the earthquake.
The project area is located in the exact center of Amatrice, the intersection of cardo and decumanus maximus of the forma urbis, so it was considered essential to remark in the paving the character of the urban layout of the entire city.

The grid guides and generates the hierarchy and functionality of the system of squares that are created in our project area, in which the differentiation of the various areas is emphasized by the different paving.
The other key element that guided our proposal was, of course, the old San Giovanni's Church.

The transformation of an urban solid into a void is an element of great theoretical and design interest because it proposes questions about the memory and texture of places. Fullness and emptiness assume a reciprocal material relationship in the form of the cast, an operation that transforms presence into absence while materializing the essence of emptiness and space into a concrete substantive entity. The cast is also an extraordinary method of materializing the essence of architectural space. In our project, the essence of the cast was recalled by manifesting the original imprint of the church, which gradually unveils its memory accompanied by the inclination provided to the square. However, the pre-existing matrix of the church shows itself in an abstract and transfigured form: the project avoids eschewing the literal and philological recall, which was also considered excessive because of the human need to provide a new future collective life within the new square. The last suggestion, the fragments, was dictated by the presence of the tragic symbolic element of the 2016 earthquake: the civic tower of Amatrice. Its remains will be the main preserved element of the city and find worth accommodation in the city's public space by relating with the pavement and the church fragments, recovered and used to compose an item of modular urban furniture, together with the steps of the church cast.

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