Cleaning and conservation. Return to the original project aiming for future conservation.
The project involved the simple internal conservative renovation of the spaces that were now dated, but above all ruined over the years, and the cleaning of the external spaces no longer suited to the objectives of the client, of the patrician Lido of Ascona, an important work by Livio Vacchini.
The renovation of the patricial Lido of Ascona goes from a large-scale look regarding the reorganization of some elements in the external space of the park, up to an architectural renovation regarding the main building and its interiors.
The old outdoor cabins play a key role in the park's spatial feel. Arranged diagonally with respect to the main building, they acted as a visual shield between the lido building and the area of reeds, located to the east of the bottom, so their demolition allowed the visual horizon to be opened up, thus leaving a more visible view. complete throughout the park to users who are preparing to find a place on the lawn. This is a very important factor, if we consider the conceptual importance of the building, which appears as a filter between the built urban area and the nature of the lake.
Another demolition issue, in addition to the 20 cabins just mentioned, are all the terraces that have arisen over the years in the immediate vicinity of the main building. Elements of total disorder have suffocated and disrespectfully damaged the main building. These structures, including the foundation on which they rest, were removed in such a way as to bring the lawn back to the perimeter of the building, precisely up to the perimeter walkway. In this way it was possible to clean up and give space to the primordial project designed by L. Vacchini in 1986. This structure was in fact conceived as a filter between the urban and the nature of the park with the lake shore. A building characterized by a plinth, main volume, an intermediate floor and its ribbed roof. For this reason, in order to avoid a denaturalization of the original composition, nothing sticks to the building anymore. Everything, including the internal furnishings (hand basins), are separate elements, which allow the intervention phases to be clearly read, considering the changed needs compared to those of the 1980s. The most intense part from the point of view of the renovation, i.e. the main building, its entrance from the car park and the part of the outdoor area facing the lake, have been studied, also at a technical level, so as not to compromise the architectural substance yet recoverable. The access, both vehicular and pedestrian, has been maintained, like most of the internal functions and openings, so as to keep the original primary structure unchanged without altering its general appearance.
Entering from the car park, the first element we encounter are the two crescents with their bases. These have been slightly revised and repaired with small interventions aimed solely at cleaning them. The two internal rooms, at the time used as boxes for tennis and the beach, since they were no longer suited to today's needs, have been used as storage and offices.
The front strip of the main building has been cleaned. Low vegetation, bushes, wheat or similar were added to the gravel surface, and unnecessary nets were removed so as to enhance the image of the Lido.
Entering the building and starting from the first floor, there were repainting works, arrangement of the 40 cabins with a new locking system, and the creation of a closed warehouse accessible only by management. As well as a central space open in its entirety. The warehouse to the east has been used as a technical room for boilers, heat pumps and electrical panels, since the entire building is located below the safety level inherent to the flooding of Lake Maggiore. The central space, unfortunately, is the result of a careless demolition that took place years ago for which we preferred not to aggravate the situation and leave the space as found since it can now be used for events or similar, therefore it will certainly bring more people to the interior of the building, making it appreciated as a diaphragm between the urban and natural context.
On the ground floor there was a major renovation project, aimed in particular at bringing the sanitary and electrical systems up to standard which, being old, no longer allowed them to fulfill their functions, both practical and regulatory. The ground floor has been divided into 5 distinct areas as follows: 1- management area and staff and disabled changing rooms; 2- men's toilet area and 1st stairwell; 3- access area with new cash desk and kiosk; 4- women's toilet area and 2nd stairwell; 5- kitchen with free service. Starting in order we find area n.1, where the office, the technical room (drinking water inlet), an external storage room, the changing room for the bathroom with shower and toilet and two separate showers, changing rooms and toilet for disabled people. In the second area as well as the fourth there are toilets, showers and changing rooms with lockers for women and men. These rooms have been completely renovated and cleaned. Maintaining the location of showers, toilets and benches, while everything else has undergone a planimetric modification aimed at improving the flows and the quality of the spaces themselves. Thanks to a central island distribution, the two sinks have become 8 without affecting the built structure. The systems, walls, floors, bathroom fixtures etc. they have been renovated while keeping the original project unchanged as much as possible. To keep the structure designed by the architect intact. L. Vacchini, the reinforced concrete walls have been entirely preserved. However, and unfortunately, the only area that was completely unchanged was the corridor of the bathrooms for disabled people and the area of the cabins on the first floor, since all the other areas in different sizes were no longer totally recoverable. Let's think for example of the reinforced concrete walls that have been dispersion painted, the partitions and cabins demolished, the countless holes and measures made over the years. In the central area, the access area, it was simply used and prepared for the ticket office and a kiosk so as to limit the number of staff assigned to it. This area was then left entirely free and for the use of future management.
The last area, n.5, is that of the kitchen which has been completely renovated with changes to the plan and equipment in relation to simple use such as self-service. This part of the renovation saw the entire space brought up to standard and allowed the refreshment area to be located externally, to the side of the building and no longer at the front. This programmatic part, decided together with the client, has the ultimate objective of avoiding the regeneration of false structures applied to the main building, as has unfortunately happened in the last 15 years. From this perspective, we (client and designer) managed to turn the lido back into a bathing place mainly dedicated to sport and gastronomy and no longer an open-air disco. This theme, the program and the management intentions are and will be of vital importance for the preservation of Vacchini's work in a qualitative state compliant with its historical-cultural value.