iosa ghini associati builds a youth center as part of post-earthquake restoration in italy

by Hans Henzen

after a major earthquake ravaged northern italy in 2012, a restoration project has been undertaken in the small town of crevalcore, including the design of a new youth center by iosa ghini associati. named ‘casa dei giovani’, the recently completed building provides a multi-purpose space for local residents as well as an important meeting place for the community.

to build the youth center, the existing structure has been completely reimagined by the architect to create a more open, functional space. the program of the finished building is split over 3 storys and covers a total floor area of 9149 ft2 (850 m2). the new scheme accommodates up to 200 people and includes 8 classrooms, a main hall, study room, kitchen, a prayer area and several offices. the center also provides a place for sport activities, with a large outdoor court and a games room complete with table tennis and table soccer.

the new intervention is designed to reflect the local architectural history and utilizes traditional building materials and techniques, such as the use of wood, plaster and exposed brickwork. this simple palette of materials has also been selected to reduce construction costs while minimizing the need for future maintenance.

the structure makes use of the chimney effect, and its design allows for a continuous stream of fresh air to flow in and out of the building, cooling the interior during the summer months and improving its sustainability. the roof, which was originally double pitched, has been redesigned into a single pitch facing south, in an effort to double the surface area of solar gain and to streamline energy consumption.

the building’ – explains architect iosa ghini – ‘is a hub for young people; designing a structure of simple quality while paying special attention to its aesthetics was of utmost importance, as our goal was to convey a sense of internal and external beauty and manifest it as an educational medium.’ inaugurated in september, 2019, the center will also be home to a charitable organization called ‘la bussola’, which deals with integration and social issues within the municipal district. the post-earthquake restoration of the damaged buildings has been made possible thanks to the contributions of the solidarity movement ‘ricostruiamo’, promoted by confindustria emilia (at the time unindustria bologna).

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