Relais San Lorenzo has reopened after work, designed by Natalini Architetti, to refurbish and extend the hotel. It sits on Piazza Mascheroni, a long, narrow piazza right near the heart of the oldest part of the upper city marked by gracious old buildings on two sides and the slopes of the Maresana hill on one. The final side of the piazza is the site of the hotel and, in the northern part, a notable archaeology site. Revamping the hotel was no simple matter. The borders of the piazza had to be redefined, the archaeology site needed to be protected and the hotel itself had to be in harmony with both the ancient city walls and the nearby hills. The original hotel building was restored and an extension added, marked by modern shapes and materials. There is no pretence the structures are from the same era, showing how, through difference, architecture can be an effective temporal mediator. The new elevation overlooking the piazza consists of a succession of three elements: the restored façade of the original building, the front of the new structure and the city walls rebuilt using recovered stone. The building has three floors, including a charming basement level where the breakfast rooms looks onto the archaeological ruins. The public can also see the later, following a glazed external route. The ground floor has the reception area, 15 rooms and a roof garden to partly protect the excavation area. The first floor has an additional 15 rooms. The new building has a stone foundation and large glazed windows on the piazza side. The upper sections of the façade are set slightly back from the plane of the lower level and divided into parallelepipeds. The windows are then set further back and Astec’s Architectural Bronze panels were used to clad the exterior walls. The window frames are in Astec’s ABX® architectural bronze, with thick extruded profiles finished using a special burnishing process that, aside from producing specific colour hues, also ensures resistance to the elements and pollutants. The addition of a corner to the northern section of the façade gives a panoramic view of the piazza and Maresana, while following the line of the old buildings, as can be seen from the archaeological ruins. The windows on this side overlook the roof garden and the surrounding hills.
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