In May 2017 Krea Costruzioni completed the restoring and requalifying work performed on the former barracks Gherzi, one of the most outstanding monuments of Novara. The whole intervention aimed to recover the building and give it a new function as new Territorial Agency and Forest Department headquarter.
The structure, which is placed in via Curatore and had the previous function as military hospital, embraces a large area and is composed by different buildings, among which is included the barracks one.
To recover and give a new life to the old barracks structure, it has been made independent from the former military hospital after the demolition of the connecting porch, and the restoration intervention was carried out in order to take the structure back to the original beauty and renew all the service plants to fit the modern requirements.
The barracks establishment, built in the 19th century, is composed by a three-floor upward central part and a two lateral two-floor upward buildings, along with a basement.
The building shows evidently signs of different architecture styles, for instance the wooden gateway surrounded by granite columns holding the overlying balcony is a clear example of the military style.
The former barracks Gherzi, together with the close barracks Passalacqua and Cavalli, was included in the agreement between the town of Novara and the State Property Office as a part of the renovation and enhancement project directed to this wide urban area, coming out to be ine of the first national examples of Federal Building.
The work of recovering and renewing applied to the former barracks Gherzi was accomplished in consideration of both the restoration of the structure and the future utilization of the building.
The first step provided an overall evaluation of the building stability and its vulnerability to earthquakes, as well as the highlighting and subsequent fixing of static lacks, to prepare the building to the following recovering intervention.
Beside the already planned coverage renovation, throughout the encapsulation and removal of asbestos plates and the next rebuilding of the new structure in lamellar wood, the basement consolidation was the most important work carried out on the building, along with the demolition and rebuilding of the ground floor ceiling, and the consolidation of the upper floor ceilings, executed by the use of concrete net girders and steel girders, in order to shrink the span size of the preexistent ceilings.
Following the removal of the ceilings and the demolition of the partitions, to rearrange the common spaces, the blueprint choice has aimed to reduce the structure weight and give it a better stability, which has been possible by the application of light and modular structures.
The lightness has been achieved also by the use of un-bearing drywall partitions, thermally and acoustically insulated.
The outside walls, already protected as historical monument, were taken back to the original pattern by removing the overlying plaster.
Moldings, cements elements such as ledges, thresholds and window balconies were cleaned by low pressure hydro cleaning, consolidated and rebuilt.
Concerning the building energy efficiency, the intervention was executed from the inside with the application of a thermal coating.
Window frames and hardware were partially replaced with new ones, except for the historical frames, which have been removed, restored and resettled.
The basement was reinforced by the lowering of the floor and the placement of girders made by reinforced concrete, as well as the realization of an external crawl space to allow a better ventilation of the rooms. In this area of the building, all the electrical and hygienic plants were removed and replaced with new ones.
Furthermore, the building has been equipped with a couple of emergency stairs, hided by reinforced concrete structures built in compliance with the whole building style.
THE POLYCHROME OF FIUME
One of the ground floor halls hosts an outstanding polychrome chalk bas-relief realized by the Sicilian artist Salvatore Fiume, which stands as fundamental witness of the tragedy of the World War Two.
During the June 1942, Salvatore Fiume was committed to the barracks Gherzi by an order of the Major Lachelli, and during the convalescence Fiume realized the bas-relief representing a military sanitary service allegory.
Bas-relief is 4-meter-wide and 3-meter-high, and it was commissioned by the doctor Luigi Vergelli, which is represented in the opera together with Lachelli.
Despite the fact that the work has been hided from people for many years, it is now publically visible.