The Grids at Borgorico

September 2010

With Gianluca Facchinelli

The IUAV, hosting an international workshop, invited students to design a light structure for archaeological remains.

The remains in this case were almost invisible, mainly consisting of some traces on the ground in the middle of a hay field. They belonged to a Roman rural villa.

The intervention was in Borgoricco, a small village placed in a territory where the roman centuriation traces still visible and give order to the land.

The goals of the project were: (i) recreate the presence of the building and (ii) design a platform to protect the remains as well function as a support for the archaeologists to work on the excavations.

We started with a morphological investigation of the rural villa. To do this, we added the element of “centuriato”, which is the way the Romans divided the land. The reason to incorporate this element is, as event today these divisions are still visible in this area of the Veneto.

The idea of a general order ruling the land, gave us a new perspective placing the villa in the land trough the rules of the “centuriato”.

As a result, the pavilion is an optical illusion that, when walking through the “centuriato” grid appears as the old volume of the rural villa, but disintegrates once you arrive to the site of the archaeological remains.

The proposed pavilion is a light element that incorporates solar panels to the generation of electricity. It is a light element that is built as a bridge from the sections of the rural villa.

The project got a mention in the workshop and was selected to show to the council of Borgoricco.

As a result, the project got funding to develop an urban plan for the whole area and a public building; The Observatory of the Roman Centuriato. This gave me the chance to work in Venice as part of a team of urban planners, architects and landscape architects.

The image above shows the extension of the Roman "centuriato" grid of several areas in Italy, showing the power of the system as an expansion tool. Bellow the floorplan of the proposed pavilion.