Locanda di San Martino

Locanda di San Martino: renovation and damp proofing of the old building built in a cave made of tuff (volcanic rock).

Italy
Matera, Basilicata
Contractor
Owner of hotel Locanda S Martino
Project Date
2002

Issues and stakes

The caves of Matera had been inhabited for centuries and until the 1950s hundreds of families were still living crowded into these cave-houses. By the 1980s the abandoned caves of Matera fascinated reminders of the past and a few rather more well-to-do residents moved back and renovated old cave houses. In 1993 the town was made a UNESCO World Heritage site, for being "the most outstanding, intact example of a troglodyte settlement in the Mediterranean region, perfectly adapted to its terrain and ecosystem”. Since then, many projects for renewal, renovation and preservation of the ancient tuff cave/houses have been undertaken. Tuff is, by nature, a stone full of moisture, and houses built with this easy-to-excavated natural stone, suffer extreme temperature differences between the inside and outside of the building (by as much as 10 degrees during some seasons). Moisture brought salts which can gradually damage masonry and a complete natural process of waterproofing was necessary.

Achievements

This renovation included removing old saline plasters and applying new adapted plasters that can handle the moist and saline conditions. The weber.san range was perfect for this project as it includes many products specific for waterproofing. Not only is it a technical plaster, able to deal with excess moisture and control the formation of superficial salts, it is also ideal for smoothing and paints, allowing the building to "breathe" and therefore ensuring strong moisture control. The renovation included specialized restoration plasters, suitable for damp walls and in case of salinity. This system works perfectly with the thermo-hygrometric balance of the substrate. Smoothing plaster from the same range was used before applying a transpiring paint, suitable for completing the waterproofing treatment