Re-Use the Roman Ruin Piscina Mirabilis

Re-Use the Roman Ruin Piscina Mirabilis


The Italian landscape is littered with forgotten historical buildings.
The movement Re-use Italy was born with the long term goal of focusing the public attention on this issue, promoting cultural activities that can show how it is still possible to bring back life inside those ruins.
We believe that the refurbishment of the abandoned historical environment is represents a resource, both civic and economical, for Italy.

– Re-use Italy Team –


Piscina Mirabilis is a Roman reservoir built by Emperor Augus-tus in the 1st century AD, in order to feed with drinking water the headquarter of his western Mediterranean war fleet. It was dug out a tuff hill, and it is based on a regular grid of pillars and arcs, with vaulted ceilings.
Participants of this competitions are asked to reuse this space as a Contemporary Art Museum.
Is it possible to bring life back inside one of the most impor-tant reservoirs of the ancient world?

The design shall consider:
  • – an area for bar/restaurant for the visitors.
  • – a conference space for approximately 80 people (usable both in winter and in summer. In the conference space, please, consider no less than 1,5 square meters per person)
  • – a reception area.
– storage spaces
– restrooms (2m+2f)
– an office for the administration (3 people)
– a space that yields the perception of the cistern space at diverse elevations.


Competition Entry:

An A1 sheet (59cmx84cm)

KooZA/rch supplement:

KooZA/rch Archipelago Call What is the museum today? As a point of departure for the ‘Piscina Mirabilis’ competition, KooZA/rch invites you to reflect upon the role of this cultural institution in our contemporary society. Rather than a building for the generation and distribution of knowledge in which objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific interest are kept and shown to the public (as de-fined by the Oxford Dictionary) the museum today also exists as an enterprise where notions of culture are more than ever juxtaposed to commercial activities.

Moreover, although we have witnessed a proliferation in the number of museums, the typologies which exist for the display of art have surprisingly not expanded beyond the modernist white cube or industrial warehouse.

How do we then approach the project for a ‘Contemporary Art Museum’ within a Roman reservoir built by Emperor Augustus in the 1st century AD? What case studies, either conceptual or realised, can we draw upon as architects? As part of our ever growing Archipelago of references, KooZA/rch, along with the Re-Use Italy team, invites you to submit one image accompanied by a 50 word text featuring one exist-ing case study (this can be a text, a building, a concept) which informed the approach to the brief. To submit:


Results Jury members will assign 3 awards and 7 honorable mentions, which will all be exposed during the competition exhibition.

First Prize: 2500 EUR
Second Prize: 600 EUR
Third Prize: 400 EUR

Exhibition Winners, honorable mentions, and other selected projects will be shown during an Exhibition in Bacoli (Naples), probably in Villa Cerillo, mid-July 2020 (exact dates are not yet selected). Publications All the admitted design entries will be published on the web-site

The organization will make an effort to give the maximum visibility on web and paper magazines to winning projects and honorable mentions. However, the actual publication abides exclusively in the relationship between Re-use Italy and edi-tors.


Filipe Magalhães Ana Luisa Soares & Ahmed Belkhodja (Fala Atelier)
Xu Tiantian (DNA Architecture)
Peter Guthrie (The Bounday)
Francesco Garofalo (OpenFabric)
Lorenzo Catena Onorato di Manno & Andrea Tanci (SET Architects)
Diego Hernandez (Archdaily)
Carmelo Rodríguez & Rocío Pina (Enorme Studio)
Federica Sofia Zambeletti (KooZ/arch)
Fenrnando Guerra (Ultimas Reportagens)
Jury members will evaluate the design entries on individual and incontestable judgment, by giving a grade on each of the following categories:
A – Design quality on territorial scale: capacity of the proposed design to show a relaunching role for the cistern at the territo-rial scale (max 10 points)
B – Architectonical quality and relationship with the exist-
ence: capacity of the proposed design to relate with the ruin at the architectonical scale, accuracy in the method and in the conception of the monumental role of the renovation project. (max 10 points)
C – Adherence to the requested principles: observance of pre-scribed functions and objectives, and evaluation of the capaci-ty of the design to bring the citizenry together. (max 10 points)