Cultural Center "Lou Pourtoun" Ostana, Po Valley. Italy
The cultural centre “Lou Pourtoun” is the lastest step of a revival strategy of the village of Ostana, in the upper Po Valley, based on the enhancement of architecture, landscape and Occitan culture.
The project reuses a traditional type of settlement of the village, a kind of covered road connecting the small volumes, to host the new function and has in the coexistence between the architectural historical characters - the mass masonry stone - and contemporary ones - the high windows, the frames corten openings, glued laminated timber - the unstable equilibrium between past and present.
Ostana, Valades occitanes of Piedmont, upper Po Valley; a few kilometres from the sources of the great river and in front of the stunning pyramid of Monviso.
A village that in 1921 counted more than 1200 inhabitants, and that towards the end of last century has reached the figure of 6 permanent residents all year.
A village that since the mid '80's has decided to bet on the quality of architecture and landscape as a lever to reactivate the site and community. Ostana today has again forty inhabitants permanent and especially new children, the fact that recently has brought to the forefront of the international chronicle.
The cultural center "Lou Pourtoun", opened at the end of 2015, represents the latest act of this strategy that combines architectural quality, cultural policies and social and economic revival.
A project developed by a team of architectes and teachers of the Institute of Mountain Architecture of the Politecnico di Torino – Massimo Crotti, Antonio De Rossi, Marie-Pierre Forsans – which for some years is accompanying the local community on issues of architecture, with the realization of various recoveries and constructions of new public buildings.
Located at 1400 meters above sea level, in the heart of an ancient late medieval village, "Lou Pourtoun" will host events such as the international "Ostana-Escrituras en Lenga Maire", the film school L’Aura and formative activities of the Politecnico di Torino.
The name "Lou Pourtoun" comes from an original typology of the village, which has become the settlement principle behind the project: a kind of covered street – the pourtoun – laid out along the contour line, and along which are built, upstream and downstream, the small volumes.
The building is organized on three levels connected with each other and which can be accessed directly from different points of the slope, as in the ancient alpine buildings.
The first level has a large space for exhibitions, film screenings, conferences, etc.; the second and third level, arranged around the central area of the pourtoun, contein the rooms of the different associations and activities.
Large and hight windows open the pourtoun to the close village and to the landscape of the Monviso mountains.
In the internal distribution space facing different local volumes of stone, creating a kind of small village housed under one roof. The pourtoun is therefore both an interior space and an external pathway, on which the village houses are aligned.
The cultural center, that is completely built in stone and has a massive external image, even if it is completely empty to the inside, has in the floor-to-ceiling windows and in the corten steel frames of openings the unstable equilibrium point between tradition and modernity.