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The Inner of the External. A contemporary project for Ragusa

Letizia Rollo
Ragusa, Sicily, Italy

© Letizia Rollo


Thesis by Letizia Rollo Project Name: The Inner of the External. A contemporary project for Ragusa Type of Project: Architectural design Location: Ragusa, Sicily, Italy Architects: Letizia Rollo Engineer: Letizia Rollo Contractor: Comune di Ragusa Project completion date: 23/04/2020

This final work focuses on the theme of “The Inner of the External”, an oxymoronic expression that leads to two spatial dimensions that are related to each other as follows: the internal space with the external one, and vice versa.
The purpose of this study is to propose an architectural design hypothesis for a building that is considered unusual for its location in the urban area. It has been ideated on the basis of the above mentioned central internal-external relation, aiming at giving a contribution to the integration of a contemporary architecture in an historical context.

The fulcrum of this work and the theme on which we intend to focus attention is the internal-external relation, in fact with the oxymoron “The Inner of the External”, we want to characterize the structure of the architectural image and the spatiality of the place, this is the starting point that starts the creative design process

The internal and the external coexist as inseparable dimensions; one cannot exist without the other, in fact it is not possible to separate the form from the content. The outer of the internal and the inner of the external do not coincide with the actual exterior and interior of a building, but can be analyzed as an internal-external to itself and an external-internal to itself. The interior, which responds to its own constructive and spatial logic, and the exterior, which dialogues exclusively with the city, create a spatial continuity.

The theme of continuous space is based on an architecture based on relations of horizontal and vertical elements, by the connection between the opacity of the walls and the transparency of the large windows. Also according to F. L. Wright the internal and external space of his buildings was continuous, therefore the internal-external relationship is understood not as a division between two distinct spaces, but as a continuity between inside and outside and vice versa.

The work has been structured in two parts: the first part concerns the historical analysis of the area with a specific focus on the planning area; instead, the second part is constituted by the project itself, the methodological choices adopted, the references and the debated cases.

The leading internal-external relation, at the heart of this project, has been applied to the design of “Palazzo ex INA” located in the historical centre of Ragusa, inserted in the regular grid of the Ragusa urban layout, a typical pattern of Sicilian cities born between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The methodological approach allowed to obtain a design proposal reworked in contemporary terms which is able to harmoniously connect itself to the strongly historical area where it is set, creating a dialogue with this area and giving a new aspect to the heart of the town.

The main attention was paid to the study of the facade, focusing on its opacities and transparencies, its empty and full parts and the unique choices made for the openings which create a dialogue with the Baroque context.