Gibellina was completely destroyed by a terrible earthquake in 1968. It was later rebuilt among the vineyards of an ancient valley, not far from the original town. During the reconstruction, many artists and architects realized sculptures and buildings in order to give the new town a good cultural influence. However, some of those buildings were never completed.
Today New Gibellina offers a great challenge aiming to create growth and development for the present and future generations through the completion of those structures. The present project is based on the idea that it is possible to make life better in New Gibellina if we are able to value the potential of the town and find the right stimuli for renewal .
We started by listening to the local people and we found out that the main vocation for growth and development of the area is the promotion of a high-quality food supply chain. So, the project consists on re-designing the interior spaces of the uncompleted theatre planned by Pietro Consagra and on realising an agricultural park which will serve the “Rural Lab”, an innovative learning centre proposed by the Italian Ministry of Education which will make training an integral part of the process of development of the area.
It is an innovative space in which students can develop and improve specific knowhow through contact and cooperation with local businesses and associations, and this experience will surely give them better working opportunities. The training and research activities of the “Rural Lab” will take place in the theatre, while the surrounding agricultural park will serve for experimental work.
The theatre maintains its sculptural nature and is re-inhabited inside by a new building that, like a hermit crab in a shell, is grafted onto the grid of the original structure, but only partially occupies its volume: in fact, the roof of the building which was originally intended as the theatre, becomes a public square accessible by different climbing systems that run independently on the inner fronts of the sculpture ( original building); the basement, cleared and made permeable by means of a change in the soil, hosts a covered market for agricultural products.
The building is therefore completely set inside a new public space open to a large range of functions and uses which can be changed in the course of time. The park represents the productive nature that enters the town and serves the twofold objective of giving plant density to a bare urban centre and reconnecting transversally the two inhabited areas of the town.
Freespace is what we have here in this project : it is the offer of public space that supports the new urban configuration, but it is also an immaterial space that creates opportunities generated by.