The Renovation by Andrea Bruno

The first renovation works of the Castello di Rivoli were made by the young Turinese architect Andrea Bruno to mark the centenary of the Unification of Italy in 1961. Unfortunately, at that time the budget was only sufficient to repair structural damage. Some years later, in 1967,  Bruno proceeded to demolish the decaying parts of the atrium built in the early 20th century. By 1978, the building was in terrible condition: water infiltration had damaged the walls, ceilings, frescos, and stuccos, causing the first collapses. This led the Region of Piedmont to pledge to take care of the building for 30 years, restoring it and opening it to the public. The works started in 1979 and ended with the Museum’s inauguration on 18 December 1984.

Bruno decided to keep the surviving historical traces, giving importance to all the moments in the Castle’s life, starting from the Juvarra building site, passing through Carlo Randoni’s work in the late 18th century, up until the interventions made by the military in the 20th century. Bruno avoided falsifications and completions, respecting the original architecture, which became a true image of the history of the building and the vicissitudes of the structure. He preserved the internal and external decorations, stuccos and paintings damaged by the ravages of time and the carelessness of men.

To give visitors a sense of the Savoy residence, Bruno restored two rooms, one on the first floor made during the Juvarra’s period, and the second in the Duke of Aosta’s apartment. He enhanced the unfinished atrium, installed the panorama that juts out from the great brick wall of the Castle, and conceived the great suspended staircase, as well as the walkway over the great vault of room 18, putting the past and the present in dialogue. Some rooms have no decorations, while several are richly ornamented with details that recall the splendours of the dynasty and important moments in Rivoli’s history.

Some time later, works started on the Manica Lunga, which was to become once again a space for exhibitions. Here, the staircases and the lift are external, and they have been made in steel and glass to allow visitors to observe the whole unfinished structure. Bruno used modern materials for the new structures, becoming a pioneer of reversibility, and again stressing the relationship between present and past. In Rivoli, the historic building and contemporary forms interact together, while the frescoes dialogue with the work of today’s artists.