Is Renzo The Next Superhero?

Edited by: Enrico Mancini @Enrico_Mancini

Where: L’Aquila, Italy.

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop.

Translation assistant: Bianca Baroni.





The devastating earthquake that defaced the medieval city of L’Aquila back in 2009, was increased by the ineptitude of Italy’s government and institutions.

This beautiful old town centre, in the heart of the Stivale, after four years is still considered a high-danger zone, convicting its death.


L’Aquila inhabitants are thwarted, some of them can’t go back to their homes and they feel like they’re abandoned by authorities; that’s the moment when a superhero is needed.


The project’s three big cubes that formed the auditorium’s structure were entirely prefabricated and then assembled on site by Log Engineering, who pieced it together with 800,000 nails, 100,000 screws and 10,000 brackets.


All of the 1.165 cubic meters of larch come from Val di Fiemme near Trento; this particular wood is known for its exceptional quality, in fact, it was used by 17th century master-lute makers, probably to make the building perform like a Stradivari.


This building features a central volume, which houses the 238-seat auditorium, and two service volumes; one is the foyer and the other includes dressing rooms and additional support space.


Each side of the volumes are clad with multi-coloured larch tiles that, somehow, tone down the illusion of instability created by the “haphazardly tumbled down” cubes.


This yelled instability, honestly, could be mistaken with a not-so-delicate approach to the site and its recent earthquake disaster.
But, if we go a little bit further, we can see that Renzo Piano talent is not clouded at all. His intent was to exorcise the fear that is still causing anxiety to the population and, at the same time it is a strong statement against the immobilism of Italy’s institutions.



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