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Rehabilitating Castelluccio: Post-Earthquake Rebuilding & Programmatic Re-purposing


An earthquake strikes in the middle of the night and leaves a number of small urban centers in Central Italy devastated and now on the verge of abandonment and economically disabled due to its slow or inappropriate amount of effort to restore it by the authorities. While the local communities affected are still fighting for restoration efforts to be taken seriously to this day, one begs to question the core problem of all this, is it possible to find a justifiable motivation or value to restore and reconstruct a small town devastated by an earthquake when its heritage value has perished along with the natural disaster?

Thus the purpose of this thesis work is to study and analyze the critical issues related to the earthquake then produce a new proposal for rehabilitating a particular historic small urban center devasted by the earthquake of 2016 in Central Italy, with particular reference to the case study of the post-earthquake reconstruction of Castelluccio di Norcia, a village in the Municipality of Norcia in the Umbrian Apennines. The first part of the thesis is regarding the study of vulnerability assessment, characteristic studies of Castelluccio’s architecture, and its site analysis that shows why and how the earthquake happened by comparing materials recorded in the past with the present data to come up with inferences of the event. The analyses showed unsurprising and interesting results such as weakened construction systems of historic masonry buildings that has its intrinsic vulnerability of its own or modifications/interventions that did not respond well with its historic components or even the irregular geometry of the buildings that were becoming complex aggregates that reduce its rigidity and structural integrity.

The second part of the thesis is the proposal to rehabilitate Castelluccio, a post-earthquake sustainable restoration and repurposing. The problem statement for the proposal of post-earthquake rehabilitation is that the inflexible and fragile programmatic function of Castelluccio pre-earthquake and its not self-sustained economy is not a model to return to. Due to its high dependency on the singular economy; tourism and agriculture (dependency on the outside source), the natural disaster of this scale completely halted the economy and livelihood of Castelluccians. Therefore, just rebuilding the destroyed village is not enough, the old programmatic function is not resilient or sustainable enough as an incentive to rebuild Castelluccio because if another earthquake were to occur in the future, history will repeat itself. Thus, the final aim of this work is to demonstrate a possible strategy of programmatic repurposing of Castelluccio by inserting a new program on top of the physical reconstruction of a more earthquake-resistant small urban center. If a major earthquake occurs again, which is an unfortunate but foreseeable and inevitable event, the new system will still hold. The versatile new program will be activated as an emergency shelter and operation center because of its existing facilities and will ensure the survivability of Castelluccio di Norcia.

The Board:
Rehabilitating Castelluccio: Post-Earthquake Rebuilding & Programmatic Re-purposing Board
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Syed Yunus Almahdaly Bin Syed Ahmad

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