The ‘Pride of Modesty’: from Poetics to Moral Imperative

The Zamboni Associati studio intervened on the complex of the Cloisters of San Pietro, a former Benedictine monastery of the sixteenth century of great importance for the city of Reggio Emilia. The project blended with smooth continuity into the pre-existing context and thus offered an exemplary and rare lesson of maturity, far from any formalism.

Photo: Alessandra Chemollo

Photo: Alessandra Chemollo

The intervention concerns the recovery of the Cloisters of San Pietro, the most extraordinary monumental complex in the city of Reggio Emilia, with the aim of creating a cultural centre of international importance. The task was to give a new role to a Benedictine convent that had grown in various phases starting from the sixteenth century, and marked by an important intervention attributed to Giulio Romano. An exceptional place for its architectural, historical, and urban significance, the latter deriving from its size and location along the Via Emilia.
In addition to being clearly a fortunate specialty, we should emphasize the elements of ‘attitude’ or perhaps even ‘method’ that can be found in relation to this project: while also underlining, as any useful criticism should, the fact that the exemplary project can be transposed.
There are three related interventions within this project: the restoration of the Renaissance monumental body partly attributed to Giulio Romano, the addition of the new ‘Urban Open Workshops’ on the grounds of the demolished minor buildings in continuity with the original stables, which were also restored, and the redevelopment of the courtyards annexed to the monastery, which were returned to the city and thus their role as an urban crossing was rediscovered.
We are often reminded that architecture, as a spatial art, is properly judged only through its tangible experience in an encounter between the objects built and our physicality, mediated by our senses.

Photo: Alessandra Chemollo

Photo: Alessandra Chemollo

Photo: Alessandra Chemollo

Photo: Alessandra Chemollo

The complete article is published in Autumn 2020 issue of Piranesi No. 42-43/Vol. 28.

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Project Data

ZAA Zamboni Associati Architettura (architectural project, general coordination, works supervision)

Project Team
Andrea Zamboni, Maurizio Zamboni, Alessandro Molesini, Daniela Conti

Works supervisor
Andrea Zamboni

Riccardo Amarri, Benedetta Braglia, Oliviero Brognoli
via Emilia San Pietro, Reggio Emilia

Comune di Reggio Emilia – RUP Massimo Magnani

Main contractor
Tecton/Cattolica costruzioni

Impresa Marmiroli, Impresa De Angeli, Reset, Torreggiani & C.

Completion year

Built area:

Monumental body
2.370 m²

Urban Open Laboratories
790 m²

230 m²

Courtyard areas
3.560 m²

Total: 6.950 m²

2.700.000 euro