Made in Italy. From Reuse to Urban Renewal expands on the reflections explored and investigated in various issues published in recent years. Of central importance to the future development of the Italian territory, this theme comprises the maintenance, reparation, improvement, integration and completion of what already exists, to reflect the way we live today. It is a theme that involves the Italian landscape, considered not only as its built fabric, but also its geographical conformation as an expression of culture and ways of life, the environment and its perception as a recognisable ensemble founded on complex relationships between its different components. It is a theme that should be obvious in a country with Italy’s physical, geographic and architectural characteristics yet, unfortunately, this is not the case. This is demonstrated by difficulties even in managing to assemble the selection of works presented here, limited by choice to works completed over the past five years. However, the most unsettling aspect emerges from the latest ISPRA-SNPA Report on the “Consumption of Land in Italy 2018”, which shows a further increase with respect to 2017. This is particularly evident in areas showing signs of economic recovery, where new constructions invade protected and hydrogeologically unstable areas, primarily in coastal and riverfront areas. Despite various laws, and notwithstanding the conditions of abandonment and dilapidation of such an important heritage, which includes a great variety of constructions – from decommissioned factories to public housing estates to valuable yet unused historic buildings – separated by voids, equally located in urban and natural areas, the principles and strategies of intervention focused on the renewal of the existing have trouble becoming a practical reality in Italy. The end of the great urban expansions of the ’60 and ‘70s brought an affirmation of the principle of modifying the existing city to support quality and stem uncontrolled expansion. These principles are now an integral part of urban renewal programmes across Europe. They are based on a set of key actions – densifying, connecting, re-stitching, building atop the built, designing public spaces, increasing landscaping, improving public transport – that have permitted the renewal and development of urban centres and fostered economic growth. This line of thinking is common to the selection of projects presented on this issue of the magazine.
REUSE, REQUALIFY, TRANSFORM. NEW SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIES FOR NEW COLLECTIVE NARRATIVES - Pg. 8
THE OLD PORT IN TRIESTE. NEW SCENARIOS AND HYPOTHESES FOR TRANSFORMATION – Pg 84
URBAN REGENERATION AS A MODEL OF DEVELOPMENT FOR THE MID-SIZE CITY: THE EXAMPLES OF COSENZA - Pg.92
Designed by Dominique Perrault and coordinated by Grandi Stazioni, the project features the renewal of the wide urban area in front of the Central Railway Station, implemented in a lengthy process of different phases. Perrault’s project offers a dynamic new outdoor urban space that dialogues with the city’s dense underground in an elegant and rich manner. The large vertical cut crowned by a lightweight fabric roof creates a variety of enchanting lighting effects and reflections that offer the most suitable response to what is now a Neapolitan tradition of designing large hypogeal spaces. The project has yet to be completed. There is still time to evaluate the final result of this renewal project that already reveals an interesting relationship with what is underground. We can only hope that it will provide a similar reconsideration of the urban areas, not yet complete that simply exist under the light of the sun..
This recovery project designed to activate the Università del Piemonte Orientale Campus involves the morpho-typological reconfiguration of the ex Perroni Barracks. This structural and figurative elements of this transformation, entirely autonomous with respect to the pre-existing building, made it possible to conserve the fully restored building envelope and ensure the potential and total reversibility of the entire operation. This ambitious programme was based on a synergetic combination of available administrative and technical instruments, resulting in a important operation of urban renewal for the entire city, founded on the original study drawn up by the State Land Registry and the Ministry of Defense. The hypothesis included a concentration in this area of a range of different services for citizens, institutions, commercial operators and businesses.
The new Roman home of the large department store founded by the Bocconi brothers in Milan in the late 1800s, which Gabriele D’Annunzio named the Rinascente in 1918, is concealed behind the long façade of a palazzo formerly owned by the INA [the National Insurance Company] in Via del Tritone. In this project to retrofit and renovate a portion of an urban block in the historic centre of Rome to host a new commercial use, the building is a neutral container. The entire project consists in maintaining the original profile and volumes unaltered, conserving and restoring the two façades and the demolition-emptying of the volumes inside the block. The complex bureaucratic hurdles overcome to achieve this result required considerable efforts to identify solutions that respected regulations governing heritage protection. What is more, works exposed the archaeological remains of the Acquedotto Vergine, from the age of Augustus.
The area of Via Mecenate in Milan currently represents one of the possible forms of coexistence between factories, realised between the 1960s and 1980s, and the creative and entrepreneurial reuse of decommissioned industrial structures. This coexistence is a partial extension of the experience offered by the Lambrate district, slightly further north, and reiterated in the Gucci Hub flagship project. This project, realised inside the Caproni factory, was entirely financed by Kering, the French couture colossal. It belongs to string of projects by large fashion houses who are concentrating their activities in highly visible and iconic locations. The lot is divided in two parts, one wider and articulated and another, smaller in size, comprised of a row of warehouses, separated by a long boulevard. Between the two parts, a transversal warehouse was emptied out to create a covered connection.
The fondaco is a particular typology: a mooring point, hotel, warehouse, bazar, fortress and consulate. In the world’s most commercial city, it represented a source of protection against the wiles of the Serenissima. The project, developed by Benetton and DFS, Poste Italiane and the City of Venice, and designed by OMA, leaves the morpho-typological characteristics of the existing building substantially unaltered. The design is clean and the most visible architectural intervention is the brick wall characterised by a large lunette that partially conceals the escalators. The other walls of the building remain unchanged. OMA added and modified small and precious details. Vertical connections are one of the principal characteristics of the project: escalators finished in bright Venetian red, walls clad in elegant woods and finishes in gold steel all heighten the sense of luxury.
The Casa della Memoria, the House of Memory, completed between 2013 and 2015 by the young Italian collective baukuh, is a small and compact volume inserted within the wider Porta Nuova urban renewal project, on the margins of Milan’s historic industrial Isola district. Commissioned by the City of Milan, with Hines Italia, the main developer of Porta Nuova, the project was awarded through a call open to architects under 40. The building has the proud role hosting different national associations linked to the values of freedom and democracy. A role it fulfils in a modest and sustainable manner, containing costs and volumes without limiting the richness of the project. The design is refined and essential in its definition of internal and external spaces. A simple and regular parallelepiped manages relations with the site, and the building is perfectly inserted within the surrounding urban fabric, while the contemporary richness of the façade establishes a dialogue with Boeri’s Bosco Verticale.
This project by Ferrara Associati, commissioned by the Town of Poggibonsi promotes the valorisation of the recently restored existing architectural elements of this Medicean fortress. The result is an efficient restoration and environmental rebalancing that benefits the surrounding landscape. The renewed pedestrian itinerary, parallel to the walls of the fortress and rows of existing olive trees, leads toward dedicated rest areas, strategically positioned in proximity to the buttresses below. The result is a highly original perspective of the San Lucchese Abbey and the more distant profile of San Gimignano. In addition to a set of hubs near the secondary entrance, the “cultural itinerary” concludes at the archaeological excavations, completing the spatial sequence in an ideal open space from which it is possible to appreciate the constructions of the Fortress, the only built elements in an apparently boundless horizontal landscape.
The Officina Grandi Riparazioni represents a node between the persistence of a choral past and a present during which the city has shown it can renew itself without renouncing to its industrial identity. The recovery project is the result of two intentions: on the one hand, FS Sistemi Urbani sought to valorise properties and lands being decommissioned and, on the other, the Fondazione CRT was looking to invest in the creation of culture and business. The work is an interesting action of recovery: the building is formed of two blocks of buildings, united by a hinge that creates a large H with two courtyards, one large and the other more intimate. The two blocks are in turn tripartite. During the recovery, with a certain fetishistic obsession for the dissipation of industrial ruins, the attempt was made to retain the peeling plaster, bent steel and atmosphere of dusty decadence. The officine are articulated in three volumes: the officine Nord, for exhibitions and performances, the Snodo, a restaurant, and the officine Sud, an incubator for creative businesses.
The new bridge over the Crati River, whose design was awarded in 2000 by the Town of Cosenza to Santiago Calatrava, represents a fundamental connection between the “consolidated city” and the vaster urban area. This strategic element of infrastructural re-stitching belongs to the process of metropolisation taking place in Cosenza for over two years. The bridge is a mixed structure in steel and concrete made of two parts: the 124.725-metre long single span steel cable-stayed bridge spanning the river, and its 30-meter long extension in concrete on the west side crossing the urban section of the Ferrovie della Calabria railway. The cross section of the bridge, which measures 24 metres in width, features a 6.20 metre wide footbridge, raised above and separated from the level of the vehicular lanes (two per direction). The steel structure features a caisson section.
- Appagante, ma non dissonante. Gli architetti di Zevi al MAXXI di Roma – Pag. 110
– Non chiamatelo radicale. Ugo La Pietra in mostra al CIAC di Foligno – Pag. 115
– La casa del poeta. In memoria di Valentino Zeichen – Pag. 118
– Il convegno Mipim Proptech di Parigi. Sfide e opportunità della rivoluzione digitale per lo sviluppo nel settore dell’edilizia – Pag. 121
NOTIZIE - Pag. 122
LIBRI - Pag. 127
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