Restoration and restructuring of a school complex and restoration of the mosque
2011: In progress
Project and supervision of construction: IDxEA
Clients: O.D.A.C. – D.O.A.
Covered area: 2.932mq
Surface area of inner square: 1.504mq
Surface area of outer square: 2.271mq
The mosque features a courtyard that is closed on three sides, with an area for ritual ablutions on the fourth. This side leads to a smaller courtyard, which, acting as a kind of buffer zone, leads to the rectangular prayer hall. The prayer hall consists of twelve geometrical spaces that support the domes typical of mosque architecture. The porticoes of the mosque date back to the early 20th century, as does the Islamic upper school. This building, attributed to Florestano di Fausto, vaunts an architectural style that represents the search for a cultural dialogue between Arab traditions and Italian rationalism.
The buildings that house the school surround the mosque, in a pattern recalling that of the madrasah. The school’s orientation follows the direction of the original Roman layout of the neighbourhood (north-south), while the mosque is directed towards Mecca (northwest to southeast). The skewing that results has created a series of courtyards overlooked by the various rooms. With great care for protected historical features and based on an intense dialogue with the client, it was decided to proceed with a number of targeted demolitions and the removal of all existing latter-day additions. These interventions were necessary in order to reconfigure the interiors by drawing inspiration from their original arrangement, while at the same time integrating new rooms and functions.
The renovation project developed by IDxEA included the historically accurate restoration of the mosque and a new internal distribution of the school’s rooms and its vertical and horizontal access routes, but it also involved the creation of a closer connection between the mosque and the school. Following a study of the new design for the courtyard, a revisited porticoed structure was added, one that would evoke the idea of the madrasah even more strongly. Moreover, on the front of the building, the open, unbuilt spaces, which had originally been fenced off, were completely redesigned, creating two public squares facing the city, connected by paths and green areas. All the pavements for the squares and the courtyards were given the northwest-southeast orientation (towards Mecca), so that the religious connotation of the entire complex would also be obvious from the outside.