San Domenico Convent


The project of San Domenico Convent complex, placed in San Gimignano, represented an extraordinary opportunity for NCB to improve the consciousness about the delicate Italian balance and interrelation among territory, historical and artistic patrimony and also people, the cultural heritage transcribed into Landscape and conventions.

Designing the past for the future requires a multidisciplinary and strategic approach; solutions have to consistently reinforce the testimonial value of artifacts with the community benefits, who although anchored in its traditions, can’t avoid the challenge of its perfectible and sustainable.

San Gimignano village represents something unique in the entire world, recognised as Unesco World Heritage in 1990. The former prison and convent of San Domenico complex, whose ownership is shared between Municipality and Region, composes almost 10% of the whole urbanised old town and its ancient areas. It grew up as a convent at the beginning of 1400 on the remains of an oldest castrum and starting from 1883 to 1995 it became a jail.

This monument, having a total surface of 13.000 sqm of which 6480 sqm erected, has been also a precursor for the transfer from State property to local authority, the first Italian case of federal cultural state property application.

This 3 years journey led to a first proposal and a second final definition. An action which combines history, culture and economic valorisation; a restoration aimed to give a new appearance to the building components, using a an opened and inclusive strategy.

Although it seems a traditional renewal, actually there was a strong courage and audacity thanks to the general Administration and designing team, which presents functional uses of old town, proposal beyond the logic of the simple building  maintenance: especially the paths concept which enhances round tour and the access from the city walls. Also the Superintendence has a skilled and competent approach, leading and harmonising NCB’s proposals.