The building of the Mercato Annonario in Sanremo is the work of the Engineers Fera and Grossi Bianchi of Genoa, who designed it in the mid-1950s. It represents one of the architectural elements that most strongly characterize this part of the city both for its size and for the centrality of its location. It constitutes a sort of watershed between the medieval building, consisting of the nuclei of the Pigna, Piano and the urban expansion of the post-war period. It is a single building with a reinforced concrete frame of the surface of about three thousand square meters, characterized by a parabolic vaulted roof with a height that reaches almost fifteen meters.
In addition to the fruit and vegetable market, delicatessens and butchers, the building houses the fish market, the ASL veterinary clinics, some municipal offices, the offices of the INPS and a national union.
The lack of coordination of maintenance interventions and the absence of an overall strategic vision have ensured that, from being a reference center for daily shopping or for purchases of all kinds, it has become less and less frequented. In fact, the instrumental inadequacy of the building, which does not allow merchants to renew the commercial offer, the problems related to parking difficulties and its decadent architectural aspect, have meant that, in the dynamics of city life, the Annonario Market has been undergoing a phenomenon of marginalization for years.
We were called to solve these big problems with a construction site that should last less than four months (it lasted three) and every design choice related to this first phase of intervention had to adapt to compliance with these assumptions. The building was born multipurpose and to some extent this characteristic saved it and made the idea of the recovery project clearer. However, it cannot be said that all the design choices were simple due to the lack of a community of people able to sit at the design table as an authoritative interlocutor. At most we have found "committees" in defense of absolutely private interests. In fact, it is probable that a place like this has lost its symbolic value also because a common ethos has been lost among people, that religio civilis that has made Italian civitas great, without which it is impossible to support places of symbolic value. We therefore had to plan "on the sly", renouncing the great demands and looking instead for new functions capable of generating the relationships that today have failed and that have created this difficult situation.
The recovery project was therefore organized into three phases:
- the first (carried out with the construction site), concerned the implementation of urgent and indifferent maintenance, functional and plant engineering interventions;
- the second, will concern the reorganization of the road system, further maintenance of the structure, the shift to the second floor of the offices for trade unions currently located on the first floor to obtain spaces to be used for the marketing and promotion of the products of the agricultural supply chain;
- the last one will be the restoration of the building as a monument, the definitive functional reorganization of the commercial spaces and the definitive flooring of the external pedestrian spaces. The new interventions will be part of the wider cycle of interventions that will concern the arrangement of the Piazza Eroi Sanremesi ensuring the unified reading of the two urban spaces and will allow the expansion of the pedestrian areas and the rationalization of the parking lots. Fortunately, starting in 2011, the building has been protected with a timely constraint and this constraint, far from becoming a reason for freezing the current state, will be the driving force of a commercial relaunch if it is possible to enhance its potential with targeted interventions. The long concertation phase of the project as well as the analysis of the national and international reference models led us to consider that today the city markets must try to differentiate as much as possible the offer, since the approach of the people who use these places to shopping is not only for those who want to save but also for those looking for the best possible relationship between quality and price in the product. The reorganization of the internal market space goes in this direction. The redesign and the planimetric relocation of the counters rebalance customer distribution flows and allow you to create an internal covered square that houses a small cafe, benches and tables. The three-dimensional wooden structure serves to define a simple rule of use of the concession space. Market players are tremendously unruly and only by establishing simple rules can we hope to maintain order. For this reason, the curtains for closing the benches have been introduced. In the evening they must be closed and serve to establish the limit within which market operators must contain shelves, furnishings and merchandise. In the opening hours, however, the rule can be transgressed and within certain limits it can be trespassed. To maintain the authenticity of the character of the place, everyone has been authorized to design their own bench freely. The wooden structure that defines the sales areas houses all the fire- fighting systems, signs, signs, lighting and each counter has been equipped with running water to allow operators to sell also processed products (cut and washed vegetables and pieces of fruit) . The choice of using wood for the construction of the structures of the counters and for the entrance doors was made for its cheapness, durability and flexibility, admits all sorts of customization and communicates the idea of renewal; it is reassuring, widely associated with "organic" and all that is natural.