Borrowed Scenery: A Conversation Between the Will of Conservation and the Need for Transformation
Media: Architecture Competition
Location: Grottole, Italy
The Re-Use competition asks the main question: “Is it possible to bring back to life one of the most important religious buildings of the region?” Rather than bringing it back to life, we want to create a space for life to emerge: a public garden, that is both a space for encounters as well as a metaphor of life to revive Grottole.
The analysis of Grottole evidenced two significant elements that are interconnected: the demographic problem and the lack of public plazas or esplanades in the town’s fabric. The markets, events, and fairs take place on narrow streets. Although this is representative of many medieval towns due to their topography, public plazas are the spaces where life takes place. They are the soul of a society, where encounters and surprises happen. The project proposes to make the central space a plaza, an urban space that functions as a connector of structural street paths while having the flexibility to become private when needed for specific events. The ruin exposed a distinctive relation to the surrounding territory as a frame, one opposed to the relation of the old church. Without ceiling or doors, the structure accentuates the geography and the cosmological relations. And through her skeleton, she also revealed that the spring equinox travels exactly at the intersection of the church opposites. The project wants to celebrate the beauty of architecture’s surrender to nature, by continuing her flamelike structure and accentuating the sun’s path in the spring equinox.
architecture’s surrender to nature, by continuing her flamelike structure and accentuating the sun’s path in the spring equinox. The church revealed a sacred geometry within its structure known as Vesica Piscis. It is a geometry with great symbolism for ancient civilizations. Two circles collide in the center, creating a third element in between. It is the meeting of heaven and earth, life and death, past and future. This project wants to highlight the symbolic as well as the physical relations of the Vesica Piscis as the meeting ground between past and future, private and public, building and garden.
The principle of Borrowed Scenery comes from the act of incorporating into a garden the distant views or landscape. It means to capture something that will not easily be changed, that is alive, such as a river, a mountain, or the sky. By bringing something greater into it, the space remains alive. The concept of letting views into the garden gives continuity with distant landscapes, as space where multiple sceneries and times collide. As a palimpsest of scriptures, the project is an interlaced series of Borrowed Sceneries, as a new grounding of multiple times and relations to conciliate the will of conservation and the need for transformation.