Viale Parioli 40 - Roma
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The Theatre of the Academy of Fine Arts (Teatro dell’Accademia di Belle Arti) in Naples, symbol of excellent teaching methodology, has been opened after a restoration work that lasted less than one year. The architecture firm Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners from Rome was commissioned by the Naples’ Public Works Superintendent to conceive and supervise the restoration project. The theatre’s restoration work was financed by Miur-AfaM (Miur – Ministry of University and Research; AfaM – Higher Education in Art and Music) and by a convention with the Naples’ Public Works Superintendent. The project aims at providing the theatre with better tools for expressing its central importance in the teaching of the performing arts today, and especially for the institution’s famous school of set design, which boasts a long tradition and a promising future. In addition to its didactic, research and production activities, the theatre will also become a real stage open to the city. The Academy will therefore establish synergic relationships with the show business, becoming a real trait d’union between education and real world. An important institution for the study of the arts in southern Italy since the mid-eighteenth century, the Academy of Fine Arts of Naples is located in a monumental 17th century building in via Costantinopoli, the former convent of San Giovanni delle Monache. The Academy’s theatre is located in the right wing of the complex, opening onto the beautiful old convent cloister garden, the centre of the entire complex. The restoration project required Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners to develop technical and architectural research in two directions. On the one hand, the restoration project has aimed at creating a perfect place for natural voice, enabling actors to get in direct touch with the audience in a traditional way, without electronic amplifiers. On the other hand, the project respected the historical aspects of the building, though always leaving room to the architects’ sensitivity and creativity. The site’s inheritance, architecture and history have been interpreted in a contemporary way and by applying technically sustainable solutions. The works The restoration works develop around the stage and the pit and extend into the foyer and the transit and service areas for the audience and the actors. The additional structures homogeneously added over the years have been removed; the interior's aesthetics has been reviewed using just a few materials; the hall's acoustic performances have been improved; the pit was granted top visibility; the outside windows in the central modules have been reopened and the service areas for the stage have been reorganized, updating the pre-existing plant. The acoustics The wall panels surrounding the pit have been removed and the large arched windows have been reopened, thus visually connecting the theatre with the Academy’s front and with the city. The new acoustic panels shaped after the large windows are conceived like grey wooden leaves that follow the acoustic curve. The lacunar ceiling over the suspended panels is clearly visible. It lends the pit a new space dimension as its pattern appears different with each new point of view, turning it into a really unique example of its kind. The perspective effect of the ceiling is extremely charming also thanks to the effects of light projected on the surface of the acoustic curve, conferring visual movement to the installation. Suspended perroquet were placed between the panels to illuminate the pit. The rigorous and visual relationship between the pre-existing modular ceiling and the new suspended one inspired the architects, who created a geometric matrix that can be evenly repeated. The acoustic panels of the back wall feature the same concept as the suspended false-ceiling. The 3° tilting panels in dark grey oak wood gradually detach from the wall, with their distance from the wall increasing towards the centre of the wall surface. This setting improves the sound's refraction towards people sitting at the back rows of the pit. Visibility The project not only has improved the theatre’s acoustic, but also the stage’s visibility for the audience, which was not very good in the past. The board and the pre-existing floor have been removed to create a single pit. The white leather seats form staggered rows on an ascending platform to grant top visibility to the audience. Pit and stage The overall impact of the pit enhances the new architectonical solution with its outstanding solutions under historical, perceptive and technical aspects. The horizontal levels – ceiling and floor – are in chromatic contrast to the white walls and they seem detached and nearly suspended. The pit seems to delicately approach the proscenium and the lateral windows, clearly marking the area for the audience. As a result, the hall turns into a dark pool ending in the stage. Grey oak wood was used for the pit’s flooring, for the wall panels and for the small cabinets hiding the air-conditioning equipments. The stage area and the horizontal wooden floor have been uniformly painted dark grey. The two arches at the back of the stage and the corresponding windows have been reopened and during plays they can be screened by curtains in the same colour as the walls. Aesthetics Taking into consideration the pre-existing materials and colours - Carrara and Bardiglio marble for the flooring, walls characterised by huge white arcades, grey stone windowsill and decorations- Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners based the new aesthetic guidelines on wood, considered as the peculiar element of most of the project. Oak wood, white-pickled and painted dark grey is the dominant material of the whole project. It is the perfect material for stalls, coverings and false ceiling. The grey wooden elements are in contrast to the white walls, thus recalling the same grey-white pattern to be found all over the Academy. Service areas The architecture firm Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners carried out even an in-depth study on the peculiar aspects of the service areas for the stage. The distribution of the bathrooms and the access ways to the stage, the pit and the various service areas for the audience and for the actors have been improved. Flows are now divided and organized in a more functional way. In the foyer, the entrances to the hall have been marked by white plasterboard panels, detached from the walls. One of the arcades on the shorter side hides a wardrobe just behind the dark grey wooden covering of the arcade. In front of it there is a small info point. Such elements anticipate the interior design project of the hall and they stand out among the mostly white foyer as the only grey wooden elements. Conclusion The restoration project of the Theatre of the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples, developed by Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners in Rome in collaboration with Naples’ Public Works Superintendent, the Academy and their trustworthy technicians is a small and ambitious project, in perfect harmony with the Academy’s rich architecture and history. Client: Naples’ Public Works Superintendent and Academy of Fine Arts in Naples Project: restoration of the Theatre of the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples Site: Naples Architectonical project and art direction: Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners, Naples’ public works Superintendent Team Alvisi Kirimoto: Massimo Alvisi, Junko Kirimoto, Alessanda Spiezia, Arabella Rocca, Chiara Quadraccia, Carolina Ossandon Avetikian, Sara Piccialli Plants: Eng. Mario Semproni, Naples’ Public Works Superintendent Fire consultant: Eng. Bernardo Gioberti Surface: 700 mq Budget: ca. 800,000.00 Photo: Anna Galante