The project hasn’t been developed by an Italian architect though, instead by architect Jörg Friedrich of german office PFP Architekten.
Scuola di Piazza delle Erbe was designed for a plot left vacant after it was bombed during the Second World War. Genoa’s city council, which is responsible for the regeneration of the Porta Soprana and San Donato neighbourhood, commissioned the five storey building to accommodate almost 500 pupils of primary and secondary school ages.
The site’s location at the intersection of two narrow streets determined the position of the two-storey volume at the base of the building, which is partly submerged in the sloping site.
Above the stone-clad lower portion, which contains offices, a canteen and a music room at ground level, the upper floors housing the classrooms jut out over one edge and continue around the higher rear section of the site. The change in levels means the building can be accessed both from the piazza at the bottom of the site and from a smaller terrace at first floor level.
While the building’s base section is covered with panels of locally sourced marble that complement the paved surfaces of the streets, the upper storeys are rendered and painted pastel blue.
Terraces on top of the building provide outdoor play areas with views of the city skyline.
Circulation areas inside the school feature white walls and marble-tiled floors that reflect natural daylight entering throughout the large windows.
Colourful surfaces add a fun element to the interior, while sections of the original damaged walls evoke the site’s historic past.
A ruined eighteenth century chapel at the top of the site adjacent to the new building is currently undergoing renovations to transform it into an auditorium and library, which will also be open to the public and provide a link between the school and the streetscape.
Photography is by Anna Positano and Andrea Bosio.