Breaking up and reassembling to establish a dialogue with the existing

The proposal consists in three schools that represent the architectural reinterpretation of the existing signs of the territory by taking formal references from vernacular constructions, from the urban system and from local historical institutions such as convents and monasteries built from the XIII century onwards. These precedents also represent settlements founded on a narrow relationship with the surrounding landscape.

A new settlement

The project aims to restore the sense of community that collapsed with the 2009 earthquake. It responds to social and academic needs offering spaces accessible to everyone and linked to the natural environment.

A long porch located on the north side and detached from the main street gives access to the whole complex. The gesture of bending this long element helps to create a public park close to the street and opens the schools on the south side to benefit from the view of the landscape and the sunlight.

This strategy offers certain permeability to academic spaces and those shared areas such as the gym, library, and auditorium that are purely pertinent to the schools but can be used by the community too.

Three schools, the houses

We believe that the three schools must have the appearance of houses.

This idea is inspired by the fairy tale of the “Three Little Pigs”. This narrative can be understood not only as the story of three little brothers but also as an allegory of the development of the same child who learns to postpone the principle of fun and play as the only purpose and starts to think and reflect on the consequences and acts with rationality.

The schools, three materials

The use of different and, preferably, natural materials helps to stimulate the development of the child’s mind hence the choice to apply three different materials for the façades of the three schools. This also refers to the historical development of construction techniques; wood is for the nursery, raw earth for the primary school and stone for the secondary school.


architect: Dialettica Studio  |  team: Fabio Zampese, Isabel Pérez Zambrana, Gloria Volpato, Davide Matteazzi  |  collaborator: Marcel Prats, Luca Bosco  |  client: Unknown  |  status: Competition (2018)  |  location: L'Aquila, Italy (42.3512951,13.2988082)  |  climate: Temperate, Oceanic / maritime  |  materials: concrete, wood  |  environments: Urbanization, countryside  |  visualizer: Studio  |  budget: 8.000.000 €  |  scale: 5.128 m2 medium  |  ratio: 1.560,06 €/m2  |  types: education, school  |  views: 3.751