Structural consolidation in the west wing: north-west corner

The conservation work to be carried out in the West Wing, and specifically in the north-western corner of the Domus Aurea, are aimed at tackling the two main goals of intervention on the monument:

  • structural consolidation;
  • the overall isolation of the area to minimize heat transfer with the outside, and thus protect and thermally stabilize the surface layers of the fresco paintings decorating most of the rooms of the Domus.

Overall plan showing Rooms 16 and 17 - SSBAR Archive

Overall plan showing Rooms 16 and 17 – SSBAR Archive

The reconstruction of the barrel vaults over Rooms 17 and 16 of the so-called “Little Barracks” on the western edge of the Domus responds to the need to isolate the rooms and, at the same time, to conserve and consolidate this sector.

The precarious state of conservation of the wall structures in this area made it necessary first of all to carry out propping works to secure the structures: preliminary approach excavations carried out with the assistance of specialized staff are underway.

As can be seen from the plans, the sector of the Domus Aurea where these interventions are being carried out illustrates the tricky aspect of interference between the work needed and the protection of the structures and rooms in the area. It was unthinkable to pass through the monument with materials and equipment. As a consequence we created a direct exit from the worksite onto the nearby Via del Monte Oppio; procedures to open the vehicle entrance are underway.

Plan showing the rooms covered by the intervention - SSBAR Archive

Plan showing the rooms covered by the intervention – SSBAR Archive

Overview of the area – Rendering from Google Maps - SSBAR Archive

Overview of the area – Rendering from Google Maps – SSBAR Archive

Initial work to reconstruct the vault over Room 16 showed the marked fragility of its structures and particularly of the wall tops in this room; this state of affairs became evident only after close-up inspection, made possible after removing restorations of the wall tops dating to the 1960s/1970s. Currently, in October 2012, consolidation and repair work on these walls is underway.

Repair of one of the wall tops - SSBAR Archive

Repair of one of the wall tops – SSBAR Archive

In the meantime, we will complete the wall between rooms 16 and 17, an operation that will allow us first to reconstruct the vault of room 16 and later to build the vault of room 17.

Reconstruction of the original geometries of the vault - SSBAR Archive

Reconstruction of the original geometries of the vault – SSBAR Archive

The next intervention, dictated by stability requirements, will involve reconstructing part of the vault over the first Trajanic Gallery (20A), perpendicular to rooms 16 and 17, to ensure structural continuity between the Neronian and Trajanic sectors.

Trajanic Gallery 20 A, detail - SSBAR Archive

Trajanic Gallery 20 A, detail – SSBAR Archive

For the time being we are securing the gallery by removing the infill which weighs on the residual portion of the vault and by removing provisional support works, already in place for some time.

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Gli autori

Maurizio Pesce

Maurizio Pesce

A member of the technical staff of MiBAC (the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities) from 1978. Since 1989, he has been a member of the Domus Aurea staff, holding management support posts and managing facilities and maintenance work. He worked with special commitment on reopening the monument in 1999. Since 2010, he has been technical director, coordinating the companies working in the monument, workers and staff in collaboration with the director of the Domus Aurea. He is also works manager in several of the worksites to secure the monument.
Enrico Del Fiacco

Enrico Del Fiacco

Architect, after a few years of design experience for the ENI group (Algeria, Angola, Jordan), he has worked since the late 1970s in the field of archaeological and architectural heritage conservation, collaborating with MiBAC (the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities) and other public institutions. Major projects include the new arrangement of the external “Gismondiana” area of the Ostia Antica archaeological site; the conservation of Casale Torlonia and the Severan warehouses at the Port of Claudius and Trajan; the displays for the Museo delle Navi at Fiumicino; the project for the museum infrastructure at Ostia Antica; the project for the new Isola Sacra Archaeological Park; the displays at the Museo delle Navi di Nemi; the conservation of the Taurine Baths at Civitavecchia; other projects for monuments and archaeological sites in Rome, Ostia, Lazio and southern Etruria.
Mario Bellini

Mario Bellini

Born in 1951, he was awarded a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Florence in 1976, receiving an (ex aequo) prize from the Fondazione Pontello. After graduating, he collaborated with working groups for the pilot projects to rehabilitate the historic towns of Tuscany and took refresher courses on structural issues in the conservation of buildings and monuments at the Milan Polytechnic. Professionally he works as a health and safety coordinator, on the executive and structural planning of consolidation work for companies specializing in the conservation and consolidation of monumental heritage and works in reinforced concrete. From 1997, his professional work has concentrated exclusively on the conservation and consolidation of archaeological and monumental heritage on behalf of local governments and institutions. He has been a member of the Domus Aurea working group since 2010.
Heinz-Jürgen Beste

Heinz-Jürgen Beste

Born in Germany/Westphalia. 1980-86: studied architecture and art history at the Dortmund Polytechnic and the University of Berlin. 1988-1995: scientific assistant at the Institute of the History of Architecture at Munich University. 1989: travel scholarship from the German Archaeological Institute. 1986-1995: participated in the excavation campaigns of the German Archaeological Institute at Paestum, Metaponto, Siracusa and Selinunte. 1997: awarded his Ph.D. from the Architecture Faculty of the University of Munich. From 1995: academic member of the German Archaeological Institute in the Roman Architecture and Topography sector.

4 thoughts on “Structural consolidation in the west wing: north-west corner

  1. Lavoro eccezionale per la precarietà delle strutture nelle condizioni originali.
    Particolare elogio alla Direzione Tecnica dei cantieri che ha saputo risolvere con successo le problematiche contingenti che si sono presentate nello sviluppo dei lavori.
    Dott.Ing. Maurizio radicchi

  2. Tutto quello che state facendo è degno di nota,mi piacerebbe sapere quando sarà possibile visitare la domus aurea.

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