Poised between old and new: the restoration of a municipal library
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Poised between old and new: the restoration of a municipal library

Architettura Tommasi

Poised between old and new: the restoration of a municipal library
By Redazione The Plan -

Studio Tommasi oversaw the restoration of the former church of San Michele Arcangelo in Montemerlo, now the municipal library of Cervarese Santa Croce (in Padua), restoring its ancient religious architecture and adapting it to modern needs.


The original church building dates from the period of the earliest Lombard settlements, that is, between the sixth and eighth centuries. Since then, it has been the subject of a long series of transformations and restorations, including in recent times. The original sunken quadrangular plan with its Romanesque windows was lengthened and raised, creating the current plan. Then, in 1953, the renovated church reopened but it was soon abandoned and sold to the local government. Next used as a school, the church underwent a radical transformation to adapt it to its new calling. At the end of the ’80s, a major restoration project reestablished, as far as possible, the original spatial effect of the nave and presbytery, as the building was transformed into the new municipal library.

The most recent restoration, overseen by Studio Tommasi, began with the restoration of the roof and comprised two phases. The first, between 2003 and 2005, involved restoring the formal and stylistic character of the exterior as well as the restoration of the northern façade, the work replicating the original spacing of doors and windows. This phase also involved cleaning and restoring plasterwork, and a number of demolition and rebuilding works to modernize the interior.

The second phase, between 2007 and 2018, involved a series of structural modifications to improve the building’s seismic performance and saw the restoration of the original spatial effect in what is now the main room on the ground floor. The flooring in the presbytery and on the first floor was also restored, while stonework in the nave was moved. This last job required the mapping and numbering of each piece, which was then reassembled in its new location.

The heating, electrical, and lighting systems were all upgraded to meet their new requirements, ensuring future library users a comfortable environment. The restoration was completed with repairs to external paving and the addition of a variety of street furniture.

Studio di Architettura Tommasi

Cervarese Santa Croce, Padova, Veneto


Photography by © Marcello Mariana
courtesy of Studio di Architettura Tommasi

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