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Refurbishment in Architecture

presented by the MINI Clubman

Recovery of the former slaughterhouse into University campus / Studio Insula

  • 01:00 - 30 April, 2013
Recovery of the former slaughterhouse into University campus / Studio Insula
Recovery of the former slaughterhouse into University campus / Studio Insula, © Insula srl
© Insula srl

© Insula srl © Insula srl © Stefano Cerio © Stefano Cerio + 20

  • Architects

  • Location

    Rome, Italy
  • Category

  • Designer Architects

    Eugenio Cipollone, Francesco Cellini , Roberto Lorenzotti (Pavilions 6 & 7), Eugenio Cipollone, Paolo Orsini, Roberto Lorenzotti (Pavilion 2B)
  • Design Team

    Nicoletta Marzetti, Renzo Candidi, Lusilla Voci, Fabrizio Bonatti (Pavilion 2B)
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

  • Collaborator

    Stefano Converso
  • Structural Consultant

    E.D.IN. srl
  • Technological Consultant

    Francesco Bianchi, Mario Gamberale (Pavilion 6 & 7), DI.M.I. (Pavilion 2B)
  • Client

    Università degli studi Roma 3
  • Construction

    Impresa Giuseppe Zanzi e figli S.p.A. (Pavilion 6 & 7), Italiana Costruzioni S.p.A. (Pavilion 2B)
  • Area

    1,200 sqm (Pavilion 6 & 7), 900 sqm (Pavilion 2B)
  • Cost

    1,000,000 € (Pavilion 6 & 7) 2,000,000 € (Pavilion 2B)
  • More Specs Less Specs
© Stefano Cerio
© Stefano Cerio

Over the last ten years The Testaccio district in Rome has become a workshop on urban transformations. As it is a significative strategic area for urban development, it places a challenging matter of reflection about culture and architecture of the city, especially because of the existence of areas and spaces that need to be recovered and reintegrated in the complex new post- industrial urban mode.

© Insula srl
© Insula srl

The ex slaughterhouse was built between 1880 and 1890 following the project of the architect and engineer Gioacchino Ersoch ; at that time it was one of the most advanced of its kind. The pavilions show a simple building system : rectangular shaped plan volumes, bricks and tuff structure with regular openings ,pitched roof coverings supported by "Polonceau" iron trusses.


Considered one of the best examples of industrial archaeology in Rome of 19th century civil engineering, in the seventies it was dismissed, going since then under different refurbishments for new temporary uses. Nowadays the property of the area is shared between the Municipality and the Roma 3 University.

© Stefano Cerio
© Stefano Cerio

Given the extremely delicate theme of 19th century pre-existences and obviously roman archaeology whereof the subsoil is always rich, between 2001 and 2013 Insula studio coordinated the requalification of the entire complex, and also the recovery intervention into a University campus, realizing the feasibility study and the scheme design of the whole area and the pavilions.

The project has be conceived as a delicate balance between intervention and preservation, following different approaches: from restoration and preservation to the increase of internal surfaces, along with the demolition of the recent pavilions .

© Stefano Cerio
© Stefano Cerio

The first intervention regarded Pavilion 6 (toilets and powerhouse) and Pavilion 7: a great covered hall (85x15x10 meters) with four big skylights on top. The project goal was to realize three workshop classrooms and a 260 seats auditorium. The architects have chosen to exalt the industrial volume, and create separate spaces also acoustically isolated- trough the insertion of three steel-structure partition walls: transversal diaphragm partially transparent, linear, light, realized by a choice of essential materials (steel, wood, glass) and colours (blue, white and grey).

Big geometrical podiums and long suspended wall tables re-establish the human scale and underline the didactic use of the place.

© Stefano Cerio
© Stefano Cerio

The project of Pavilion 2B (just finished -2013) foresaw the recovery of the building to guarantee flexible locations for classes and workshops, together with a collective space as a link between the architecture school and the library. As in the previous intervention, Insula decided to preserve the volume and articulate the large internal space -840 square meters- through mobile partitions, tracing the original division in 7 stables (demolished in 1932). Six walls are placed between the trusses, and show a stable part (glass and steel) and a central opaque part (long 9 and high 3 meters) made by a folding panel system easy to move for creating different size ambiences, depending on the needs (from 120 to 729 square meters)

Master Plan
Master Plan

The intervention was carefully aimed to restore and preserve what is left of the original Ersoch project: as well as on the outside, where the façades and the decorations have been philologically restored. 

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Project location

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
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Cite: "Recovery of the former slaughterhouse into University campus / Studio Insula" 30 Apr 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884
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