Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has asked architect Renzo Piano to lead in the reconstruction of the central Italian towns devastated by last week’s magnitude 6.2 earthquake that claimed the lives of at least 290 people. Renzi announced a national action plan for recovery and risk prevention on Monday after meeting with Piano to discuss strategies for housing the over 3,000 displaced survivors and rebuilding the historic towns in a manner that would mitigate damage caused by future seismic activity.
“We have to act quickly, with the utmost urgency,” said Piano in a telephone interview with The Guardian. “Anti-seismic requirements must be inserted in the laws of the country to make our homes safe, just as it’s compulsory for a car to have brakes that work.”
The recovery plan will consist of several phases: over the next six months, the Italian government will transfer displaced residents from the 58 tent camps and temporary shelters where they are currently staying to longer-term wooden “chalet-style” huts close to their damaged or destroyed homes. Following successful relocation, reconstruction of the towns will begin.
“Reconstruction should be coordinated in the wisest and fastest way,” commented Renzi in a statement. “It’s right to do it quickly but even better to be done well and above all with the involvement of the affected people.”
Drawing from his experience working with UNESCO on disaster recovery and prevention, Piano’s comprehensive plan calls for stricter anti-seismic regulations, as well as special attention to protecting the cultural heritage of the region’s architecture. The strategy is expected to take 50 years to fully implement.
“We are speaking about the ridge of the Apennines, the backbone of Italy from north to south, an operation projected over 50 years and two generations,” he said. “We are talking about millions of buildings, it is not impossible if you work through generations.”
The 78-year-old architect was appointed an Italian senator for life in 2013.