From the earthquake destruction to new reuse possibilities: a case study on “Porta Leone”

Alessia PANELLA | Andrea Innocenzo VOLPE
(Dipartimento di Architettura, Florence University, Florence, Italy)

Keywords: digital survey, earthquake, city walls, L’Aquila, Italy

L’Aquila is an important town in central Italy: in time it has been a significant crossover of passages and the place to manage and control a large and complex sector of country. Besides, since ever, it was subject to strong and destructive earthquakes, that often caused the reshaping of the urban pattern. The last one, happened in 2009, caused large destruction on both contemporary and ancient buildings.
This study exploits the earthquake as an opportunity to free the area of the city walls around “Porta Leone” (Lion Gate), which has been saturated in the late fifties by buildings of social housing, precluding the community from enjoying this place.
Nowadays these buildings, heavily damaged by the earthquake, are in ruins and abandoned and their full demolition is foreseen in a quite short time.
In this situation, it’s possible to rethink the relationship between the town and the ancient walls.
The area was scanned using the digital survey (operated by 3D Laser Scanner and IUAV photography/video) to produce a series of models that allow to understand this part of the urban asset, rereading the town shape and developing simulations for a new settlement, less invasive than the previous one.
This study tries to give a new significance to the system walls, valorising their historical value and giving opportunity of better comprehension of the city’s development, interpreting the historical phases of evolution and defining  specific solutions thanks to the use of the 3D model, going beyond a simple juxtaposition of buildings, towards a clear interpretation of the ancient evidences.