After the earthquake: reconstruction plans for San Gregorio

Author: School of Architecture

In April 2009 the L’Aquila earthquake hit Italy, destroying much of the region, especially a small village (or borgo) called San Gregorio. In August Professor Samir Younés organized a fifth-year studio to offer long-term reconstruction plans and design new buildings for San Gregorio.

The borgo had been decimated---the roughly 700 inhabitants were living in Red Cross tents set up on San Gregorio’s soccer field. Upon arrival, the 10 students in the studio had lunch with the residents on that soccer field, developing an appreciation for how the residents lived in---and loved---their town. Professor Younés took the group to study the region’s architectural forms with the goal of creating an enduring, coherent plan for rebuilding.

Students analyzed existing structures, determining what could be saved and what had to be completely rebuilt. Then, they had to create one master plan for the borgo. Each student designed one or two buildings, including a church, a civic center, an infirmary, a school, apartments and townhouses.

The final plan also included two new town squares, new points of access to the village, an esplanade, a small hotel, restaurants and new houses to spur economic growth. All the buildings were designed to withstand the tests of time and seismic events.

Ongoing discussions with L'Aquila officials are being held to organize an exhibition and fund a publication for the fifth-year project for San Gregorio.