I . Synopsis
Starting from the words of its author, the industrial park is a monument. The building, which stands out with exceptional singularity against the weak urban tissue of Quarto Inferiore, must survive as form to its function and start a new life inside the transformations that are affecting the territory of Bologna. The intervention we propose can be divided on the formal and the programmatic level. At first we tried to exploit to the limit the individual spatial characteristics of the single settings. The structure is freed to unleash a lively and vibrant relationship withe the neighboring fabric and to accomodate with radical freedom a new and surprising constellation of functions, activities and events.
The harmonious alternations of public, commercial and exhibition spaces, accompanied by a strong productive vocation, allows to imagine an original and prototypical management, factually suited to the specific economic conditions of this period. The competition offers the unique opportunity to have the use of the factory not only as a pratical field, but as a symbolic terrain where the productive and social status of the “creative worker” becomes architecturally manifest.
II . Strategy
The complex designed by Pierluigi Cervellati provides a remarkable catalog of forms and spaces of different sizes, pressure and solemnity. The amount and distribution of access and connections allows to depict the artifact with a narrative approach.
The project aims to understand and clarify the complexity of the building and to use its different parts adapting to each the activities that are able to enhance their individual spatial vocations.
These parts are:
- a first section surmounted by a temple-like structure
- a second part composed of two free-plan floors
- an L-shaped branch overhanging the previous sector III . The temple, the garden The first intervention is oriented to ensure the building a scenic entrance akin to its violent beauty. The enveloping facades an the slab which devides the first section into two independent floors are demolished to free the explicit monumentality of the collosal structure that embraces it. The intervention is openly contextualist. The demolition makes possible to obtain a direct relationship with the neighboring tissue, creating a clear and legible succesion of public spaces. The building is open to the context and no longer a hermetic and finished heterotopia; the colonnade invite us to visit, temoving any visual discontinuities. The entire surface of the lot, already crowned with a thick curtain of poplars, becomes a contemporary garden. The contrast between the brutal beauty of the building and its new environmental background, hightens the sense of the sublime. This action also offers to the complex a unique space, a covered plaza, a giant pavilion that can be populated by a multitude of fluid activities and relations, which freely expand and retract occupying the wide public space; open but protected. A balera in an inflatable bubble, an international skateboarding tournament, runways and catwaling, a giant baby, the book fair and the flea market.
IV . Ground Floor
To mark the public vocation of the ground floor, the remaining spaces that compose it assume a commercial/exhibition function.
The first area is occupied by an articulated commercial island. The island hosts a restaurant, a bookshop, a conference room, a mediateque, a workshop for children. Each function takes one or more niches: autonomous room but part of a single element, The height of the section increases with increasing intimacy and then allows you to perceive its entirety already from the entrance. The hyper-controlled distribution of the plan makes directly explicit the island as a machine of gain and recreation.
Through a hard line of services, you can enter into a large exhibition space. The space is organized by a binary system that allow it to be staged according to the different expositive requirements. The presence of three jumps of scale, one of which is double height, breaks the rigid and abstract hyphenation of the tracks ajd gives the opportunity to organize three more relevant spaces.
V . First Floor
The 3500 square meters of the second floor become the beating heart of the building. The impressive breadth and the abstract radicalism of the free plan provide the suitable land to preserve the productive identity of the industrial plant and make manifest the widespread and hard condition of the “creative work” today. Without suffering from nostalgia and sharing the definition of Milton Glaser, Art is work, we felt necessary, in designing a space of cultural production, to refer to the tradition of the workplaces.
In the Germany of the 50s the Quickborner firm encouraged every member of the company to sit together in one open field in the attempt to create a non-hierarchical environment that would enhance the communication between workers. This radical distributice idea took the evocative name of burolandschaft (landscape office) and consisted of a vast entropy of objects and furniture scattered in a wide space and structurally undivided.
In a similar manner Ludwig Hilberseimer in its proposal for the Chicago Tribune aims to draw the temple of the immaterial labor according to the indeterminacy of the free plan. Unable to spatially translate the unstable relationship that compose the places of the intellectual production, the architecture is reduced to its minimum degree: a container articulated by a homogeneous multitude of pillars.
Art projects, graphic and media design could be integrated into a new and relaxing way, meeting rooms can function as atelier, workstations could become the seat of a symposium. Although it’s open, it can be temporarily partitioned and immediately reconfigured into a immense space. This freedom creates the general feeling of a cplace designed to share and discuss ideas, a free and transparent environment that visitors can make their own. A place without no spectacle to be seen except that the use made of it.
VI . Second-Third Floor
In the last portion of the building we chose to host a domestic and residential function, the condition sine qua non of the entire apparatus. To ensure that the building remains alive in its cycle of production-exhibition-sale, it is necessary someone who lives there. To attract external contributions (new actors and new audience) it has been decided to introduce two types of accomodation: fast and slow.
The first is a simple guest house for a total of 36 beds. The dorm rooms of 4, 6, 8 peaple exploit the ubiquity of air and light guaranteed from the tape windows along both sides and are designed to ensure the best conditions of comfort and the greater sense of intimacy. The remaining large area includes shared services, dining, recreation, laundry and storage.
A new volume, identical in the geometry to the section below (the outer shape of the block is a simple linear “extrusion” of its surface), is added to host the second typology of accomodation. While the rest of the building, from the public spaces to the floor of production, is the realm of sharing, these apartments are 20 spaces for the individual and his intimacy. Every simple accomodation of 35 square meter is accessed through a tiny spiral staircase. Once up there is no common area other than an atrium of 1.2 square meter. The
living area is structurally separate from the sleeping area by a strip carved by the bed, the bathroom and the wardrobes. The living area is visually extended outside by means of a loggia. The choice of the “grand lit” bed (140cm) leaves open the possibility of living the room in two people.
VII . Sustainability
This convertion is - from the beginning - a sustainable project. It covers all four points of sustainable design: economic, social, environmental and institutional.
The sustainability of the building resides in its own nature.
The extreme simplicity of the intervention and the consistent presence of commercial and rentals space, coordinated with public space and services, could certify an economic and management feasibility through an innovative and complex operation, which exploit without prejudice the peculiar economic conditions of this period. The building, now a true incubator, has in fact the unique chance to produce, exhibit and sell his product, but even itself.
From a material point of view we have used a gentle approach, trying to work on the existing, both in its monumental episodes and in the most common occasion. The new functions always respect the existing fixture, services and facilities and they are always organized around them. The volume of the new housing adheres to the requirements of the certification of sustainability. Finally a system of rainwater collection streamlins the water supply for the abundant vegetation.
According to the original conception of well-being and comfort desired by its promoters and the author, the buildinh will enjoy even richer and more varied open spaces.