Colosseum: winning project announced for the reconstruction of a new arena floor

4 May 2021

Milan Ingegneria has been awarded a contract for their plan to give the Colosseum a brand-new arena floor.

At the press conference held on 2 May 2021, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini stated that we’ve taken “another step forward toward rebuilding the arena, an ambitious project that will aid the conservation and safeguarding of the archaeological structures while getting back to the original image of the Colosseum and restoring its character as a complex stage set”.

Parco archeologico del Colosseo Director Alfonsina Russo expressed her great satisfaction seeing as the “reconstruction of the arena helps turn back the hands of time, finally providing the public with the same view of the monument’s stage floor that ancient spectators had, allowing for a more complete appreciation of the site and highlighting the importance of conservation through highly technological structural solutions aimed at long-term eco-sustainability”.

The project’s call for bids was open from 22 December 2020 to 1 February 2021. Upon its conclusion, the awarding committee, chosen by Invitalia and consisting of Salvatore Acampora, Alessandro Viscogliosi, Stefano Pampanin, Michel Gras and Giuseppe Scarpelli, chose Milan Ingegneria’s submission as the winning project.

The Flavian Amphitheater’s new arena, as specified in the project guidelines drafted by PArCo team members Dr. Federica Rinaldi, architect Barbara Nazzaro and Dr. Angelica Pujia, under project manager Cristina Collettini and with the support of structural engineer Stefano Podestà, will be light, reversible and sustainable.

Now that Milan Ingegneria and their team (architect Fabio Fumagalli, Labics srl, Consilium – Servizi di Ingegneria and CROMA) have been announced as winners, the operational phase of the ambitious reconstruction is set to begin. With innovative building techniques, sustainable materials and refined methods of data analysis, the project will guarantee both security and functionality. In addition to restoring the monument’s original appearance and function as a large and complex stage set, the project will also contribute to the conservation of the site, in particular its underground structures.

The floor will be made from Accoya wood, timber that has been modified through a special process that increases its resistance and durability: a sustainable choice to combat the overexploitation of other types of wood. Some portions of the floor will be built with moveable panels which can be rotated and shifted to guarantee flexibility and to bring natural light into underground chambers. With regards to conservation, 24 mechanical ventilation units will be distributed along the arena’s perimeter to control the temperature and humidity of its underground level; in just 30 minutes, these devices will be able to completely change out the air circulating through the subterranean spaces. The new floor will protect its underlying structures from environmental agents, reducing underground moisture with a system that will collect rainwater and recycle it for use in the monument’s public restrooms. The project will restore a more complete appearance to the Colosseum and will allow the public to more fully understand the usage and function of this icon of the ancient world, which will now also be host to cultural events of the highest standard.

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