Reviving Renaissance Ruins: The Chiesa Diruta Transformation

Constantinos Yanniotis' Innovative Design Breathes New Life into a Historic Monument

In the heart of Grottole, Italy, a ruined Renaissance church known as Chiesa Diruta has been transformed into a vibrant cultural center. This innovative design by Constantinos Yanniotis, which won the Silver A' Cultural Heritage and Culture Industry Design Award in 2023, marries the old with the new, creating a unique landmark for the region.

The Chiesa Diruta, a unique Renaissance church with an elliptical dome, was the ideal setting for this transformation. The core idea behind the design was the creation of a "Temple" inside the original stone wall monument that floats 7 m above the ground floor level. This freed the space of the main Temple floor, allowing people to visit the site and enjoy the breathtaking view over the Basento river valley.

The design includes a Concert Hall and a Municipal Library, both of which are accessible via a narrow path on the north side of the church. The Concert Hall is a 60mm thick Polycarbonate Sheet Wall, which achieves a neutral integration of the modern building into the monumental Temple. At night, the floating volume of the Hall reflects a gentle and warm light, illuminating the surroundings and turning the Chiesa Diruta into a vibrant space.

The Municipal Library, located on the opposite side of the monument, is a hospitable space that develops in two levels. The library, along with the Concert Hall, are covered by maple parquets, while the foyer floor is covered by white marble. A membrane layer protects the subfloor of the church, preserving the integrity of the historic monument.

The design project, which started in December 2020 and ended in March 2021, faced several challenges. The most demanding issues were the integration of a modern concert hall into a Renaissance church monument, and the structural detailing that would not compromise either the new building use or the form of the monument. The exact position and height of the floating concert hall were determined with regards to the arched niches of the nave and the relative height of the perimetric stone moldings.

In conclusion, the Chiesa Diruta transformation is a testament to the power of innovative design in preserving and revitalizing historical monuments. Constantinos Yanniotis' design not only respects the history and architecture of the original church but also breathes new life into it, creating a vibrant cultural center that serves as a landmark for the entire region.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Constantinos Yanniotis
Image Credits: Image #1, Constantinos Yanniotis, Architect, 2023 Image #1, Constantinos Yanniotis, Architect, 2023 Image #3, Vassilis Symeonidis, Visualiser, 2023 Image #3, Vassilis Symeonidis, Visualiser, 2023 Video Credits, Reuse Italy, Constantinos Yanniotis, 2023
Project Team Members: Constantinos Yanniotis
Project Name: Chiesa Diruta
Project Client: Constantinos Yanniotis

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