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)


Via Emilia S. Pietro, Reggio Emilia


Corvino + Multari Vincenzo Corvino Giovanni Multari



Corvino + Multari – Restoration and Redevelopment of the “Covered Market” insula

PROJECT - Main Infos

PROJECT: Corvino + Multari – Restoration and Redevelopment of the “Covered Market” insula

LOCATION: Via Emilia S. Pietro, Reggio Emilia

YEAR: 2012

ARCHITECT / FIRM: Corvino + Multari Vincenzo Corvino Giovanni Multari

BUYER: La Galleria S.p.A. (Coopsette soc. coop. e Tecton soc. coop. - RE)

SURFACE: 6.650 sqm

PRICE: € 11.002.422,21

The Reggio Emilia Covered Market is a building halfway between neo-classical and Art Nouveau, built in 1927 on a project by engineer Prospero Sorgato, located along the Via Emilia, at the intersection of the cardo and the decumanus maximo of the ancient centre of the Roman city. The block to which it belongs encompass the former convents of San Tommaso and of Corpus Domini built in the Middle Age, then completed during the Renaissance and merged into a whole architectural organism as a result of their suppression during Baroque-Neoclassical Period. The built environment in which the Covered Market is implanted is the result of the eighteenth-nineteenth century interventions, with the creation of the new Court on the Via Emilia, and the following ones of the twentieth century. Aware of the historical stratification of the entire block, the project aims to re-read the Market Gallery, the Student House and the building that insists on the area of the Church of San Tommaso as a single organism able to explain urban relationships with the context. It also aims at implementing actions to create a new permeability on all sides and in particular on Piazza Scapinelli, a space always denied to the Market, also in the original project. The main chapters of the project include the restoration of the Market Hall Gallery and the recovery of the former Chierici branch building and the former Student House, with the demolition of additional and improper volumes built through time, along with the creation of public spaces that connect the different buildings. The requalification and re-thinking of the public space between the buildings gives a new meaning and role to this part of town, making it a true epicentre of transformation able to involve the system of open spaces that from Via Emilia ramify in the perpendicular alleys. Piazza Scapinelli, Via dell'Abbadessa together with the Market Gallery and the indoor courts form a continuous and permeable open space system able to become a cluster of urban quality for the whole historic centre. An opportunity for redevelopment of the public interaction spaces of the city becomes a permeable spatial connection and a temporal sequence, lingering between a past of rediscovered stratifications and a future of new functions. In line with the objectives of the Strategic Plan for the enhancement of the historic city, the transformation extends the "city effect" from the main Via Emilia to the system of alleys connected to Piazza Scapinelli and via dell'Abbadessa. It becomes a space of crossing and of polarization that creates a new hub within the consolidated system of squares in the city centre. The permeability of the new complex is found in the balance between indoor and outdoor, lives in the redefinition of empty spaces, but also in the transition between indoor and outdoor.

WHAT - Program

PREVALENT CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The functional program remains predominantly the original one, with a limited new program.

The project works on an architectural solution that describes the historical and permanent characters of the monument, turning it into a place for cultural and social identities for the third millennium. The project proposal is based on the determination to integrate the functions of the new trade into the monument, optimizing the horizontal and vertical traffic system, favoring the pedestrian and guaranteeing the invitation, the reception and the necessary and required opening of the entire complex. The project increases the accesses and reorganizes the gallery-courts system, characterizing it in relation to the destinations they belong to and enhancing its vocation to host other events, such as musical meetings, theatrical performances, exhibitions, etc., to make the complex live beyond store opening hours. The market spaces will be reorganized, favoring the central nave, nave which will be free of the box structures present today, re-proposing the open gallery of the original project idea. The side aisles will host the new shops, A refreshment area will give visitors the chance to stop and meet. The building of the former student house will house a Medium Commercial Surface and will leave its original structures to be perceived, such as the cast iron columns with capitals and the roof in wooden trusses. It will be connected to the market through a small connection element on pre-existing building grounds, which will host connections and sales spaces. Therefore from the via Emilia "through the market" you will reach the former piazzetta del Pesce, but also piazza Scapinelli, via delle Carceri and via dell'Abadessa in a possible itinerary of the "secret gardens". The system of the green of the complex will be defined by small inserts, cuttings of landscapes, metaphor of places, identities, cultures. The "new market" will then be a symbolic place of great visibility, with positive effects on the economic-social fabric; it will bring all the existing elements to the surface and at the same time be definitely projected into modernity and contemporary multimedia, in an urban reality aimed at its distinguished past.

WHO - Financing

PREVALENT REPLACEMENT / DISCONTINUITY: Financing for a minor part made by the original owner, mostly from another investor.

Property ownership is municipal. The intervention was carried out through a private project financing investment.

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 project concerned exclusively the demolition of superfetations and the return of the original spatiality of the spaces of the Gallery and of the Piazzetta del Pesce. It’s the case of the twentieth-century volume that was located in the Piazzetta del Pesce, the demolition of which enables the recreation of the space of the ancient cloister, an additional public space that relates with the building and its surroundings. The planned new interventions aimed to reconnect the market spaces to the city and to ensure the connection between the various volumes.

HOW MUCH - Relative Dimensions

PREVALENT CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: Pre-existing spaces are prevalent with respect to new spaces.

The demolition of improper additions and volumes, together with the creation of public connection spaces between the buildings, represent the main interventions planned. The new construction interventions are minimal and consistent, able to guarantee a high usability and accessibility of the spaces Elements of slight formal impact have been used, which reconstruct lower volumes than the improper ones, which are demolished, in particular to create a connection element between the market and the former home of the student, necessary to guarantee the accessibility of all the spaces.

HOW - Design Strategy STRUCTURE

PREVALENT CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The supporting structure is mainly the original one.

The restoration project involved the preservation of the material consistency of the original structures; conservation of vertical wall scores and typological and distributive organization. Structural works carried out: consolidation of load-bearing masonry using the "sew-scuci" method with full recovery bricks and reinforcement metal seams in correspondence with significant structural lesions, or complete replacement of particularly damaged portions of masonry to be added to existing ones; carrying out consolidation injections in pillars and walls with slurries of rheoplastic grouts chemically compatible with the existing walls, in order to solidify the walls that constitute them, especially for those subject to stress increases; realization of new architraves, in correspondence of new openings or of damaged portions in load-bearing masonry hangings, through the laying of metal beams on partition pulleys; consolidation of foundations, with the installation of micropiles; verification of the existing steel structures of the tunnel, with load tests and their seismic improvement.

HOW - Design Strategy MATERIAL

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The materials chosen for the new intervention balance similarities and differences with the existing ones.

The project has as its objective the need to integrate the use of the market with the current consistencies of the complex in compliance with the instances of restoration and the social utility of some new functions (objective of integrated conservation). These aspects, together with the analysis of the conservation conditions in which the elevated structures, the horizontal sections, the coverings and the staircases, the open spaces, with a deepening on the gallery and the courtyards, have constituted the themes around which the design choices are articulated. With our proposed intervention the "passive actions" were generally avoided, those that essentially determine direct and irreversible impacts; the "active" ones, which normally cause reversible impacts, have been oriented towards mitigable and recognizable types as well as, we believe, compatible on the level of historical and aesthetic requirement.

HOW - Design Strategy IMAGE

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The new intervention balances elements of continuity and discontinuity with respect to existing structures.

The re-functionalization proposal has integrated the monumental structure through a set of actions that recognizes the places working by subtraction rather than by additions. On this premises, the reconstruction of the volume connecting the Market and the Student House, –built to compensate the demolition of the existing one– and the reconfiguration of the new façade on Piazza Scapinelli represented an opportunity for a new, contemporary and distinguishable action that uses wood as material for building. A set of vertical blades redefines the backside elevation, designing a new front towards a pedestrianized public space that features an entrance aligned to the one on the historical Via Emilia. A set of wooden elements, detached from the back wall to realign the building to its old footprint, in line with the existing Church, defines an empty space in which the fire escape from the Student House finds place. This complete restoration of a block of the city centre is the result of a journey of listening to the context that uses history as a material to build new opportunities for an entire urban area, in line with the overall strategies of enhancement of the historic centre.