Article Index

A) The accessibility problem
B) The elevator
C) References

The problem of the elimination of architectural barriers is an important and qualifying target for all advanced civilizations.
The first step to hit this goal is the education of the people to remove above all the cultural barriers; in parallel the urban planning must take into account, just from the design stage, of the need to allow as much as possible that everyone can live independently and comfortably.
However problems may arise to make accessible existing sites or structures, problems that sometimes become insurmountable when facing ancient structures and monuments.
In this context it is concerned the problem of the accessibility Tiber island docks.

Going down to the Tiber island docks is only possible via a stone staircase on the side of the island facing Trastevere (South West) and which access is close to the First Aid of the Fatebenefratelli Hospital. The ladder is steep and normally soiled, wet for water infiltration from the wall of the embankment of the island and therefore slippery, sometimes even with the last few steps partially covered with sand deposits left by the floods of the Tiber. It is therefore an uncomfortable access even for visitors without disabilities.

Since 1995, between July and September, on the docks of the island is held the event “L’isola del Cinema” [The Island of the Cinema] that over the years has become a regular event of the Roman Summer fixture. In order to facilitate the access to the public each year it is built a temporary scaffolding, made with an “Innocenti tube” structure, on the right side of the Basilica of St. Bartholomew. The structure overtakes the parapet and takes advantage of the terrace located lower on the South West side of the Basilica allowing a convenient access to the South East end of the island, facing Ponte Rotto, suitable for the needs of many visitors; of course those able to walk up and down the stairs.

But in 2004, on the 10th edition of "L'isola del Cinema", something changes: the event is finally accessible also by disabled people thanks to the installation of an elevator, designed by the architect Fabrizio Vescovo, the first ever installed on the island, and a toilet for the disabled people installed on the docks.

The initiative has been made possible thanks to the support of the Councillorship for the Environmental and Agricultural Policies, the will of Georgio Ginori (president of the “Association of Friends of Trastevere”, president and artistic director of the “Isola del Cinema" and creator of "Christmas at the Isle of Rome ") and the support of the Community of St.Egidio.
Two years later, in 2006, the event hit its perfect complement with a particular film programming dedicated to disabilities.

The structure has been installed on the right of the Cestio Bridge, some tens of meters from the stone stair. The elevator has been realized using an industrial site freight elevator Alimak series C-20, with a capacity of one ton. The system has been completed by two sloping access ramps: one at the higher level of the square, which taking advantage of the shape of the ground overtakes the parapet to access to the elevator, and a lower one at the docks level.

The simple system, however effective and decisive, comes from an idea of the architect Fabrizio Vescovo (Director of the Postgraduate Course "Progettare per tutti senza barriere" [Design accessible for all] of the Faculty of Architecture "Valle Giulia" - University of Rome - La Sapienza), which, enforcing the national regulatory requirements for accessibility and overcoming architectural barriers, proposed the installation and the use of a so-called "provisional structure" in addition to the temporary facilities foreseen and necessary to accomplish of the event: a rack "construction site elevator", temporary, that can be used also by elderly or disabled person with the support of service staff.

In that regard it has been prepared, together with ISPESL, a specific and comprehensive directive of the Lazio Region on the possibility to use "construction site elevators" also to solve and overcoming architectural barriers. This directive has been published in BUR (Ordinary Supplement No 3 to the "Official Gazette of the Lazio Region" No 7 of March 10th 2003 pages 58-62 "Events in temporary open locations. Requirements and guidelines" and pages 63-70 "Accessibility of urban space. Provisional lifting devices".

The following images by courtesy of Ing Maria Agostiniano ©.








1- Progettare per tutti
2- Progettare per tutti: L'isola Tiberina a Roma, senza barriere, finalmente asccessibile a tutti
by Fabrizio Vescovo