The “Casa del Boia” and the “Torrione del Bastardo” compose a XVI century military complex at Lucca – Italia, set along its most iconic monument of the City Walls. The complex count two sections: a three floors building, originally the military barrack, and a huge massive tower – the “Torrione” - built to host cannons on two levels. The available surface is in the order of about 1000 m2.
The structure was abandoned for several years and resulted near to collapse because of abandonment and lack of maintenance. The restoration project has pursued the full recovery of the building according to its historical and architectural value, indicating compatible uses, structural and system adjustments.
The original configuration of the inner subdivision has been fully recovered. The flavor image of "Ruskinian ruin", well-established in the imaginary of the citizens, resulted in the recuperation of exterior face view surfaces. The collapsed wall sections were reconstructed with equal antique recycled materials to avoid creating perceptual discontinuities in the structure. The roof was completely rebuilt according to the original design and techniques. Inside the “Torrione” the surfaces have been cleaned from sediments and the original sixteenth-century plaster was consolidated. In full compliance of the sixteenth century architecture, the project utilizes the building as a privileged point of access to the upper level of walk along the city walls and as a container for museum activities. In the design of the spaces it has been paid particular attention to users with disability.
The positioning of the vertical connections, stairs and elevator, has been confined in the late nineteenth century part of the complex, that presented heavy damaged and irrecoverable horizontal structures.
To remark the juxtaposition of different architectural moments, such the sixteenth-century pre-existence, the nineteenth-century addition and the new insert of the vertical connections, it was decided to move back the stairwell leaving visible the entire height of the three levels served, so that the plan earth can directly see the roof. This movement creates a slot traversed only by the overhead walkway that spans the gap and lands beyond the building directly on the walk on the City Walls. On the ground floor it was also recovered the ancient courtyard, which has been covered with an iron and glass structure that has allowed obtaining a new space to use as a bookshop.
To signal the presence of the new design inserts and to assure harmonization with the sixteenth-century context has been used a short abacus of materials. The guidance material is the cor-ten steel, chosen to dialogue with the facing face view walls and to comply with the strict nature of military architecture of the complex. For flooring have been chosen various materials including a “cocciopesto” in the vaulted ground floor as a imitation of the original clay floor. The particularity of the building has required a careful design of the system solutions. The location along the iconic monument of the Walls of Lucca has determined the total visual containment of the cooling system that has made to opt for a geothermal solution. Consistent with this attitude, was placed a floor radiant system for the vaulted ground floor. The lighting system has been designed so as not to draw the walls and masonry and to create light effects to suggestively emphasize the architecture. At the ground floor was placed a perimeter raceway in cor-ten which houses the wiring and lighting fixtures with low consumption LEDs that ensure excellent performance and savings.
The construction phase lasted for 389 days from the end of May of 2013 to mid June 2014.