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Lecce, a university residence in the spaces of the former Carmelitani Scalzi convent

The project stems from the relationship between the interest in the architectural and urban value expressed by the architecture of the former convent, which requires the necessary preservation of the spaces of great historical and cultural value, and the intervention from scratch.

The concept of the project lies in the insertion of a system of autonomous elements that interpret the historical vitality of the internal garden and the plastic articulation of the roofs. The design approach is based on physical, perceptive, emotional involvement.

The public path welcomes the urban flow from via Libertini and via Basseo, conveys it to the central courtyard, imagined as a true Mediterranean garden with the two palms enhanced by local shrub vegetation (flowering lantane bushes, fragrant jasmines, strelitzia in groups, fountain that as a Moorish water channel in memory of the existing well, it makes the gush of water resound in the cool space of the courtyard). In this garden is inserted, with a gestural intention, a system structurally independent from the historic building of white perforated metal consisting of a large staircase with the possibility of stopping, by galleries along the already tampered front of the building, by two lifts, in a continuous path that makes every part of the building accessible and leads to a further new public space designed on the roof. Here the suggestion offered by the landscape of the “dunes” represented by the extrados of the vaults, with the possibility of looking at the panorama of the city, in relation to the Mediterranean vegetation with the two soaring Washingtonia palms, make us imagine a continuous open space, with a shaded walk with two pergolas with photovoltaic equipment inserted in ceramic elements, therefore compatible with the historical and artistic values ​​of the places.

The functional organization of the student residence is structured by blocks: the management offices and general support services are located on the ground floor on the sides of the public entrance from via Libertini; on the sides of the student access from via Basseo there are collective services such as the library and newspaper library. The central wing with the largest spaces on the two floors and the ancient one along Via Personè on the ground floor are the backbone of the collective facilities for culture and leisure. The accommodation spaces unfold and articulate with different living modules, on the first floor along three sides, while the support services are placed adjacent to the Church of S. Teresa. The organizational model in the integrated core concept is left open and flexible to use. Faced with invariable structural spans for maintaining the morphology of ancient spaces, it is imagined to use the height of the volume of each vaulted space to expand the residential surfaces, with passages on several levels and mezzanine portions. It will thus be possible to guarantee a varied housing offer with simple furnishing measures.

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Auctioneer: A.Di.S.U. Puglia
Location: Lecce
Type: Two-stage design competition
Date: 2021
Design group:
- leader: chvl architetti_ arch. Christian Rocchi e arch. Valeria Caramagno
- partners: Tari-Architects, arch. Francesco Stapane, arch. Mario Maiorani, arch. Costanza Pierdominici