Restoration of Spoleto Roman Theatre

International competition | Third prize

Spoleto. Umbria. Italy | 2006

Ministerio per i Beni e le Attivit Culturali

With Sebastiano Provenzano

The Spoleto Roman Theatre belongs to the category of unique spaces that have been forgotten by the city. Its condition as decadent ruins of museum value is only overcome by the sporadic use of the same for scenic arts, when the historic walls and buildings that hide the same open its doors to the public. Under this circumstance, the intention of “acting architecturally” allows for recovering the unused space as a meeting place in the city. Uniting, separating, going round and listening have been the conceptual materials for the project: to confirm the central nature of the theatre’s structure and consider the theatre as a representation of the city and the people who live in. 

The project intends to establish new relationships between the theatre and the city, between the museum that exhibits the same and the surrounding area. Attention has been paid to the complex operation of the theatre as a result of its threefold nature, given that it is a space for performances, a monument that can be visited and a place open to public use. For such purpose, the inherent potential of the context has been included to ensure that no conflicts arise between the different functions. 

The first step eliminates the wall that separates the Theatre from the Piazza de la Libertá, which was an impediment to the enjoyment of the view. A transparent pavilion takes its place, ensuring a renewed visual relationship with the theatre and used for information, ticket offices, bookshop and balcony from which the monument can be enjoyed. The second step defines a new limit and entrance door from the Vía delle Terme, generating an access through the front part of the terraces through a second pavilion that contains a cafeteria and reception area, as well as a garden that transforms the back part of this space into another one used for leisure and resting. And the third step is proposed for the performance area. A new stage, materially ephemeral, is projected, conceived to facilitate assembly and disassembly and characterized by its lightness. The set is simply entrusted to the existing architecture, veiled only by a translucent lattice that unifies in some way the historic volumetry.