C.I.A.O.April 8, 2021
The Mouseion of SiracusaApril 14, 2021
All photos © Alessandro Ferro
The air of December is the one I prefer, light, vibrant; the sky in December is terse, projected into the future, and you can appreciate all the gradations of the horizon. This is December, and just like every year, I’m woken by a buzzing full of life.
Merchants rush to organise their stalls to be ready for their clients’ arrival, all around lights are being set up and red and green flags wave. The rituals always seem the same, but this year the regeneration of this city-quarter has finished and you can breathe new air, still fresh.
You get the urge to mingle with all the people and enjoy this extraordinary new start, tempered by years of public assemblies and active participation that led to design competitions with local and international architects taking part. Architecture is something serious, it’s vision, strategy, planning and technique.
Just like every day I go to pay my salutes to Merisi, a miracle.
"Sometimes all I need is a view
that opens in the middle of a beautiful incongruous landscape
the glimmer of lights in the mist
the dialogue between two passers-by who meet in the to-ing and fro-ing
to think that starting from that point
I’ll put together, piece by piece, the perfect city
made of fragments mixed with the rest,
of instants separated by intervals,
of signals that someone sends and doesn’t know who will gather them".
Italo Calvino from
The Invisible Cities
The pavilion in iron and metal which divides the square in two functional areas rises in front of me, strong, transparent and permeable, see-through. It’s almost like a filter which, depending on the activities it is hosting, separates or unties the two areas of the square, one dedicated to Faith, the other to sociality. This polyfunctional space, much-loved by the citizens, has been used from the outset for exhibitions, conferences and various activities organised by the associations which operate in the quarter.
The pavilion is in ferment, the glass walls are open and a modern art exhibition is being mounted, children are playing football in the pitch nearby, they push their heads through the windows to watch and to comment on the recent pieces in their boxes.
At last people are talking about modernity in town.
The new paving in stone with coloured inserts which create a dynamic yet ordered pattern has replaced the asphalt and the potholes, underlining the function of each space - sport, market, play, relaxation.
The green areas are designed like an element of the architectural project, the plants are chosen to change the appearance of the square depending on the season, and aren’t marginal, but are rather a functional component where you can rest in the sun or relax on the new benches in wood and stone. The historic green frame seems to breathe and under the broad foliage, winding paths in stabilised earth with benches become a celebration of slowness.
Walking through a place which has been reclaimed from neglect to become a motor for economic and social rebirth, manages to trigger sentiments of pride and confidence; the changes, even if radical and complex, are possible where there is courage and a vision for the medium term.
The visit to the Basilica becomes a new experience - having created a pedestrian zone in front of the main facade, you now enter directly in the central nave, paying attention to the architectural elements of the Norman tower and doorway before being catapulted into the painting by Michelangelo, where I stop every day to discuss and ask muìyself about the character of his figures.
Outside the church is still a hive of activity where everyone is getting ready for the most important event of the city, so I decide to walk to the historic centre, closer than ever.
The Sbarcadero is unrecognisable, since it’s been freed of the carpark and requalified, and now it acts as a true waterfront, a role which it deserves, and is quite some turning of the tables.
After the requalification of the area, numerous commercial businesses have opened and these have also led to the requalification of the surrounding blocks of flats.
The sunlit beach welcomes people who enjoy the warm winter sun and paddle in the cool water while admiring the facades of Ortigia, brightly illuminated, in the distance. I enjoy a little break for a coffee by the sea and watch the passers-by, imagining their stories, then I cross the cycle bridge that links to Sbarcadero to piazza Talete, also requalified and now a new meeting place above all for young people who come here to chat and do open-air sports.
Pedestrian Bridge, Copenhagen, Denmark Progettisti: WilkinsonEyre
The new bridge that links the island to the mainland is light, it seems invisibly supported by the particles of which air is made, and a mechanical system of opening allows the sailing boats with high masts to pass.
As you cross the bridge, you’re met by a perfumed breeze that comes straight from the open sea, and you feel as light as a tightrope walker balancing on a rope.
Piazza Talete is always full of young people deciding which bank of the channel to invade. Two overhead walkways lead from the square to the entrance to the market, connecting the most lively part of the island to the mainland.
This new connection has encouraged the recovery and the appreciation of the 19th-century private architecture of the area, leading to some ‘grafts’ of contemporary architecture and the springing-up of little shops, galleries and studios of young designers and artists who have reclaimed these newly rediscovered places, where they have found the courage to make their voices heard.
Kalvebod Waves, Denmark, Copenhagen Progettisti: JDS/JULIEN DE SMEDT ARCHITECTS, URBAN AGENCY
Bostanli Sunset Lounge & Foot Bridge, Turkey - Izmir Progettisti::STUDIO EVREN BAŞBUĞ
Sono Architetto specializzato in Housing e nel recupero edilizio con un forte interesse verso l'aspetto tecnologico e le dinamiche che si innescano tra innovazione sociale e l'architettura. Mi sono laureato a Roma dove ho anche frequentato un Master in Housing, dal 2013 svolgo attività professionale in Sicilia sui temi del recupero e della sperimentazione progettuale nell’abitare contemporaneo e collabora con amministrazioni pubbliche su programmi di rigenerazione urbana e progetti di valorizzazione artistica attraverso i linguaggi della contemporaneità.