Experts from the “Renovation and Revitalization” degree course developed a concept on location to reconstruct the town of Accumuli after it was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in the summer of 2016. For Danube University Krems this signifies a considerable expansion of its engagement in the region, which began in 2010 with the restoration of a municipality in L’Aqulia. Central to these activities is rebuilding destroyed towns using modern anti-seismic technology whilst at the same time reconstructing the original condition. The town’s citizens are closely involved in the work to ensure that not only the towns are made earthquake-proof, but that public and business life is restored, too.

In 1976, Friuli was devastated by a massive earthquake causing almost 1,000 people to lose their lives and rendering tens of thousands homeless. In the course of post-earthquake recovery, Roberto Pirzio-Biroli, an architect native to the region who now lectures at Danube University Krems (among other things) developed a special method making it possible to reconstruct a town based on its original condition. In close collaboration with the residents, and by studying photos, films and historical documents, he succeeded in reconstructing the Friulian village of Venzone in an unprecedented way. This approach was developed further over the past few years in collaboration with Danube University Krems and, following the 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila, once again deployed.

Following heavy earth tremors in the summer of 2016, Danube University Krems was asked to assist with reconstruction work in Italy again. The participants of the degree course “Renovation and Revitalization” - under the direction of Univ. Prof. Dipl. Arch ETH Dr. Christian Hanus, Head of the Department for Building and Environment at Danube University Krems and accompanied by Roberto Pirzio-Biroli – accordingly travelled to Italy in mid-January to devise first strategies for the reconstruction of the severely damaged town Accumoli. In spite of heavy snowfall and more earthquakes in the region, the project group succeeded in developing a first post-earthquake reconstruction concept within a week. It includes a concrete implementation strategy and many sketches and drafts to serve as the basis for the next planning stages.

Reconstruction Strategy Presented

This concept was presented in San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic coast, where the residents of the razed town of Accumoli are temporarily being sheltered. The results of the study and the presented strategy were favorably received and ardently discussed by the residents. The next project steps were agreed upon so that the university’s plans could be implemented as soon as possible.


“The strategy we developed is a first step towards rebuilding Accumoli with all social, economic and safety-related aspects taken into account,” said Univ. Prof. Christian Hanus, satisfied with the work’s outcome. Roberto Pirzio-Biroli was also delighted with the enthusiasm with which the plan was welcomed by the residents of Accumoli. “It’s not only about the practical measures, it’s more about giving people hope again,” said the Danube University Krems lecturer. The next project milestones will be tackled in the coming months so that - hopefully - actual work to rebuild Accumoli can begin soon.

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