IDEAS ON EDGE

The proposal tries to cope with the existing topography and built context in order to achieve a significant development of the site, returning a clearer personality to the area. A set of actions is meant in order to achieve this success, through a development path that does not constitute a project in itself, but mainly a strategic approach. This means our attitude is to try and govern the change, but still leaves room for private developers and the people to add and change (or steer) the plans.
In our vision, contemporary icons tend to become obsolete very soon, or simply out of fashion. Our proposal is therefore to enter a realm of constant change and transformation, steered but not planned, defining an area that supports changes, and eventually promotes persistence of the most successful parts, like an artist’s canvas. The ever changing and upgrading site becomes vibrant in itself, never goes out of trend by definition, and invites great minds for a convergence on the spot.
In order to achieve the desired result, we focused on what were found as weaknesses of site, as opposed to its strengths. The first action is identified with the reclamation of the inner court (actual parking lot) as the central core of leisure and open-air activities. We can benefit from the openness towards the riverfront, and from the intimate character of the site. On the bad side, there is a backyard appeal that is pervading the inner space, which badly needs to be readdressed. Our proposal therefore introduces some built elements, partly inhabited, partly shelters, partly free-standing panels, that are used as a scenography to grasp the new character of the site: they are in fact positioned to hide the unpleasant backside of the existing surrounding buildings, they are also channeling the views towards the riverside, they are creating a newly positioned water barrier along the river itself, they define open space as part of natural space or as part of paved square. The tectonic of proposed buildings recalls the most recent Australian production, which dialogues with tradition through the free use of different weak materials (wooden panels, metal cladding, thin structures) redefining temporary and contemporaneity, buildings de-formed to a more informal and open-minded use. Existing buildings like the theatre complex will be attacked by the same architectural attitude, presenting a face-lifting that dialogues with same materials and language as for the buildings on the inner court.
The existing green area along the river constitutes a plus of the site, but also it actually cuts connections from theatre and park side to opposite courtyard. Trying to cope with existing pedestrian fluxes we added shortcuts: two inclined pedestrian footbridges will be connecting the courtyard to the bridge, and -opposite side- the bridge to green area and future school development. In our opinion, this weak connection system can become the backbone of a very intense use on a daily base, enriching and enlivening the area.

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