University of Architecture of Florence, Santa Teresa Complex

Firenze, 2006-2016 (Breschistudio Associati)

Alberto Breschi, Claudia Giannoni, Gianluca Chiostri, Niccolò Bassilichi, Francesco Deriu, Alessio Gai, Martino Piccioli, Michela Mezzanotte



The structure, originally built as a convent in the first half of the 17th century, was adapted to become a Correctional House around the middle of the 19th century, until 1984-85, when the detainees were transferred to the recently built prison of Sollicciano, and the Correctional House of Santa Teresa was closed. The value as historical heritage and as stratification of memory that emerges as a determining feature of this building was entirely grasped by the project, which proposes to leave visible the sedimentation of signs and of interventions accumulated through the centuries, ascribing value through the restoration to the memory of both the prison and of the older convent, bringing back to the surface when possible its original layout. It is based on a differentiation of interventions, deduced from the various features of the parts of the structure. A subdivision was carried out into two macro-blocks, the part devoted to the Faculty of Architecture and the one devoted to the Department of Design: the former is housed in three buildings which in the 19th century were the extension of the prison, the wing along Via della Mattonaia and the rooms and spaces on the northern, eastern and western sides of the cloister (excluding the ground floor on the western side); the latter is housed in the remaining area of the part of the complex which constitutes the nucleus of the old convent and the church, the rooms around the courtyard, and some of the ones around the cloister. The older parts of the complex (those belonging to the convent) have been rehabilitated and restored, existing additions were removed and the original layout was reinstated when possible. The memory of the prison was also safeguarded by conserving some sections, not so much due to any specific value per se, but because of its value as a part in the stratification of memory which characterises the complex.