Variation of modes of use: functions, users, schedules, etc.

Relationship between the ownership and the form of the investment that allows the transformation

Variation of the overall dimensions of the building

Proportional relationship between new spaces and existing spaces

Relationship between the structural adjustments and the existing structure

Relationship between the forms and types of pre-existing materials and those of the new intervention

Relationship between the image of the new and the image of the existing (mimesis / contrast)


Reggio Emilia


Laboratorio di Architettura Architetti Associati



Laboratorio di Architettura Architetti Associati – Piazza Luigi Roversi_Reggio Emilia

PROJECT - Main Infos

PROJECT: Laboratorio di Architettura Architetti Associati – Piazza Luigi Roversi_Reggio Emilia

LOCATION: Reggio Emilia

YEAR: 2019

ARCHITECT / FIRM: Laboratorio di Architettura Architetti Associati

BUYER: Comune di Reggio Emilia

SURFACE: 2.740 sqm

PRICE: € 683.000,00

Looking up from the city of Reggio Emilia, three signs clearly characterize the plan: the hexagonal shape of the historical city centre, corresponding with the layout of the medieval walls and nowadays the ringbelt roads; the axis of the Via Emilia, an ancient Roman decuman; and finally the great loop that crosses the south-western area of the city, corresponding to the sinuous route of Ariosto and Corso Garibaldi’s streets, at the intersection of which stands Piazza Roversi. This soft line in ancient time was probably occupied by the Crostolo’s riverbed. As a result of the construction of the city walls in the 12th century, the Crostolo was diverted and led to flank along the curtain wall along the present ringbelt road and from here it definitively moved to its current location in the second half of the 16th century. A natural extension of the Corso Garibaldi, whom maintains more or less its same width, Piazza Roversi today is not a square, but rather an open space, as it was designed in the 60s of the last century. It has as boundaries on the west side the end of the tree-lined row of lime trees of the Corso, to the South side the Via Ariosto bottleneck, in East side the Cristo’s church and on the North one Palazzo Rangone: these last two architectures are foreshadowing as two excellent backdrops the new square that the project intends to enhance. The aim of the project is the transformation of the area from a space for vehicular traffic to a space thought on human scale. A unitary space, but different, welcoming, capable of functioning in a multiple way, capable of the relationships between the different parts, suggesting new ways of behaviour, needs and desires, for everyone. A space that includes memory, not in its stylistic or nostalgic component but as a background on which starting to build a new idea, to create a social context that favours creativity and innovation for the city itself, in the present and also in the future. A space with a new identity, allow the people to look at it with a new image. The new paving stone is going to characterize the perception and the image of the square itself. The aim intends to enhance the unity of the space, able to give identity to the place and to gather around itself the architectural scenes that define its boundaries: a new welcoming space, designed primarily for people, where relationships are multiple.

WHAT - Program

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The functional program remains the original one.

The square is thought of as a loop of the Crostolo’s river, a large homogeneous surface, a place of the most diverse activities, where people coexist with the vehicles (private and public). While the actual level of vehicle accessibility is guarantee, in the new configuration of the square the vehicles are "guests" of the space and they will have to proceed at a walking pace. Inside, the main vehicular route shaped like the hypothetical curvilinear layout of the "Crostolo Vecchio" canal and connects Corso Garibaldi with Via Ariosto. At its boundaries the connection with the existing sidewalks are designed as piers that draw the shape of the square and the Cristo Church’s forecourt, acting entirely on the modification of the size of the paving stone. In the new square’s space the set of driveways and the two privileged pedestrian paths define surfaces that are design as islands, as place to stop, meet, play, and live. The islands are portions of pavement that are raised by a flap, giving rise to a slightly sloping areas of different dimensions: the latter identify the possible vehicular and pedestrian paths, integrating with the architectural scenes of the square.

WHO - Financing

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The investor is the property owner.

The project is financed by the Municipal Administration under the Excerpt Plan "Culture and tourism" Fund for Development and Cohesion (FSC) 2014‐2020 - Project "Ducato Estense".

HOW MUCH - Absolute Dimensions


TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The overall dimensions are equal to the pre-existing surface.


TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The overall dimensions are equal to the pre-existing volume.

The size of the square as a result of the intervention are unchanged in terms of volume and surface. However, the relationship between the spaces destined for vehicular transit and the pedestrian areas has changed: by reorganizing the driveway it has been possible to allocate large spaces for pedestrian areas.

HOW MUCH - Relative Dimensions

TOTAL REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: The new spaces have completely replaced the existing spaces.

The size of the square as a result of the intervention are unchanged, however the relationship between the spaces destined for vehicular transit and the pedestrian areas has changed: by reorganizing the driveway it has been possible to allocate large spaces for pedestrian areas.

HOW - Design Strategy STRUCTURE

TOTAL REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: The original supporting structure has been completely replaced by a new structure.

For the realization of the project the previous flooring was completely demolished and replaced by a new stone paving laid on a reinforced concrete slab.

HOW - Design Strategy MATERIAL

TOTAL REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: The materials chosen for the new intervention are completely different from the pre-existing ones.

In the idea of a new unitary urban space, the new Piazza Roversi is made of a homogeneous paving in Luserna’s stone with binderi size, which allows to be easily used for pedestrian paths and vehicular traffic. The islands that surround the pedestrian and vehicular tracks are shaped by portions of the square that are slightly raised and also paved in stone with the edges - the embankments - made of reinforced concrete curbs covered in Prun’s stone. The edges of the square are shaped on the West side by the beginning of the tree-lined avenue, on the east side by the Church of the Christ whose path was repaved, and shaped by the rounded churchyard underlying its importance on the urban scene and preserving the access itself, and on the north side from Viale Ariosto: all the edges, on the same level as the square, are paved in Luserna stone with split slabs with dimensions that reflect the existing ones and that differ from the texture used for the square, drawing its limits in fact.

HOW - Design Strategy IMAGE

PREVALENT REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: The new intervention favors a relationship of discontinuity with the existing structures.

In the new space the set of driveways and privileged pedestrian paths are shaped and delimited with the white stone edges of Prun of island. A large island designed in the respect symmetry of the main front of Palazzo Rangone, that takes part of a space with multiple uses (for small shows, meeting, play), with a linear green pergola made from hornbeam pruned roof shaped that does not interfere with the architectural reading of the building. One of these portions pierces the ground floor and, almost like an archaeological excavation, rediscovers the water of the Crostolo Vecchio, makes it resurface from a spring, flowing and disappear again after a while: water as a memory and as a scenography of space. The edges of the islands become white embankments for the tracks, which are thus delimited without the use of other architectural or furnishing signs. The result of the redevelopment is a space with a new welcoming image, designed for people, where cars are guests. A space for the public city, to live in freedom. A unitary space, where stone, water and green coexist in balance with the space of the city and buildings, radically changing the image of a place.