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Marcel Mauer wins Florence monastery conversion contest

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Marcel Mauer Architecture has won an international urban design competition to transform Florence’s San Giorgio and San Girolamo monasteries into a new 13,000m² hotel

The Dalston-based practice defeated a raft of large Italian firms to win the prestigious commission, backed by property management company Marzocco, in the heart of the historic city’s Unesco World Heritage zone.

Marcel Mauer’s winning scheme will transform the landmark Costa San Giorgio structures – which have been abandoned for more than 20 years – into a new five-star hotel with an art gallery and crafts boutiques.

According to a statement from the practice: ‘Our client is a large and established operator in luxury hospitality. Its business case came first. Marcel Mauer invested considerable resources gathering data and analysing patterns of world hospitality trends.

‘The study allowed us to refine the financial model of the future hotel and to tune space planning towards the maximum value on the basis of a detailed customer characterisation.’

Located on a narrow and steep street between Ponte Vecchio and Palazzo Pitti-Boboli Gardens, the 13th century monasteries were transferred from the church to the army in the late 19th century.

The 3ha complex hosted Italy’s School of Military Medicine until the 1980s and is now derelict. Marzocco purchased the site for redevelopment two years ago.

Other members of the winning multidisciplinary team included urban planning consultancy CAIRE Consortium, landscape architects LAND, engineer Cooprogetti and hospitality specialist PlanetHotel.

Marcel Mauer Architecture was founded by Antonio Pisano, formerly of Sheppard Robson, and Lorenzo Baldini, formerly of Walters & Cohen, in May 2011

The contest win comes less than a year after the firm was shortlisted in the 2016 AJ Retrofit Awards for its conversion of a former military precinct into a new mixed-use civic hub in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

A day after presenting its winning scheme the studio won a separate contest to deliver a new showroom for ceramic tiles manufacturer Marazzi in Clerkenwell, which is due to open next month. 

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