The intervention for the new floor of the Colosseum arena will make the central space of the cavea usable again: a solution of great formal simplicity, behind which is summed up a profound knowledge of the monument, which will protect the underground structures and restore part of the monument to its original image. The refunctionalization will increase the preservation and protection of the structure while maintaining its profound architectural, archaeological, historical and social value.
The system involves the creation of a new support surface in the Colosseum arena. The structure, made of steel, carbon fiber and Accoya wood, will be usable on the entire surface and openable according to different configurations. It will be placed at the same elevation as the historic floor dating from the Flavian era and, with a reversible system, will rest on the hypogeal structures.
The project involves the construction of an extremely lightweight and high-performance structure, resting on the hypogeum walls and composed of a load-bearing section, made of stainless steel, and a carbon fiber walking surface, covered with Accoya wood. By isolating the dynamic component of the system, it will be able to rest directly on the pre-existing masonry, optimizing load distribution and unloading it onto the original foundations. The integrated sections will be placed in a coplanar position to the extrados of the arena floor and will ideally reproduce the archaeological structures: thus facilitating the reading of an image as close as possible to the original one.
The system of moving and opening the blades will allow for different configurations: the new floor will be able to gradually unveil the hypogean structures to visitors, illustrating their distribution and rhythm and promoting the perception of the articulated functional nature of the hypogea and interactivity with what was happening above.
Such movements can be made without interrupting the progress of the visit and without any part of the archaeological structures, other than the modern summit of the ridges, being hidden from view. Activation of the mechanisms during the visit will produce new and exciting views, allowing natural light to illuminate the structures and providing unexpected views of the entire cavea.
The materials used allow the use of a particularly thin structural section allowing the absolute absence of interaction between the new additions and the archaeological remains. The system of support to the masonry will be achieved by laying different layers that will make the hypogean masonry isolated from the chemical-physical point of view, moreover they will be completely inert from the dynamic point of view, preventing the transmission of potential horizontal seismic stresses and forces induced by the visitors' walk on the arena floor. All structures will also be completely demountable for possible maintenance, thus ensuring complete reversibility and perfect restoration to pre-existing conditions.
The load-bearing section of the structure, made of stainless steel, will have both structural and plant engineering functions, allowing the installation within it of the bollards placed to protect the opening surfaces, the lighting systems for the underground spaces, the biodeteriogen abatement system, and the rainwater collection and recovery system.
The walking surface will be made of foils, rotatable and translatable: lightweight and strong panels made of composite material consisting of carbon fiber and termanthus. Finally, all structures will be clad with Accoya wood.
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