In 2002 Parma council organized a two stage competition for the restoration and reutilization of the San Paolo convent, a historical complex dating to the 1400s which develops into the heart of the historical city, near to the duomo and palazzo della Pilotta.

The plant is accentuated by a rich sequence of cloisters and courtyards, which culminate in ancient vegetable gardens, a public garden wedged into the historic context. The building encloses on its inside the room ‘Camera di  S. Paolo del Correggio’, representing one of most important pictorial cycles of the Renaissance period in Italy.

The project imagines freely opening up the ground floor of the complex to the city, with its intimate and cozy sequences. The upper floors are to house the public museums and some libraries.  The new entrance hall, covered with a veil, welcomes the public as though it were a new covered urban square. The core of the public museums are found in the body of the building.

The new courtyard, profoundly altered in the 1900s , represents again an opportunity to imagine a complete reconfiguration of space in this area,  by adding a bar and restaurant, facing the gardens and courtyard. The basements, displaying the collection of the Chinese museum, are integrated by a culmination of new spaces used as deposits which can be visited. The contemporary traces are silently dispersed in this architectural heritage, presented to the city by history. The restoration gives back to the community an important historical complex, a museum of the city, a museum for the city.

design team guido canali (team leader), giorgio adelmo bertani, mimma caldarola, maurizio pappalardo, gianfranco zanafredi, pietro zanlari


moreno pivetti


parma council


classified 1st