To mark the bicentenary of the death of Giuseppe Piermarini, (Foligno, 18th July 1734 – 18 February 1808), Kuadra Studio has organized a workshop to honor the work of the architect and was assigned area 8 with one of Piermarini’s follies, a design for a stylized coffee house; a circular building of which only a few plans still exist. A long standing exhibition in the Centro Arte Contemporanea in Foligno and a catalogue are the results of the workshop. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The utopian idea consists of turning back the clock 200 years to rediscover the historic roots of the city plan in 1819. This will then be the starting point for an imaginary urban plan which will provide a modern city capable of offering all the facilities and amenities necessary for the present day.
Seven areas of the historic center have been selected and each assigned to an invited architectural firm . Each sector has to blend the latest concepts in urban development and architecture as well as a folly by Piermarini, that is, one of his many undeveloped projects.
The project exploits the chance to build against the city battlements so as to redefine the physical and perceptual boundaries of the area. The concept of an external perimeter was reinforced by creating a bastion which serves both as a small city park and school building. As a result this emphasizes the sense of protection offered to the inhabitants by the military nature of the construction, while the fortifications have been remodelled for the new buildings and uses required. The entire design makes the area extremely accessible.
At the summit of the flights of steps, the fortifications have an observation area with a view of the world outside the walls where the city’s skyline can be admired. The “folly” has been provocatively positioned on the summit of the fortifications, in the most exposed point and the most visible, increasing the juxtaposition with the surroundings, a spire jutting into the sky as in the original plans. Access to vehicles has been restricted to the area around the school. The area around the base of the steps has been converted to a city garden, which will be managed by the school, and ensures the city has a ready supply of fresh produce in the event of future sieges. The garden will be an instrument of social and pedagogical development, and a fulcrum for the creation of a community area as well as responding to the ever increasing demand for nature and breathing space in cities.
Before the industrial revolution, country and city cohabitated in harmony together. Indeed, it can be said that in every phase of western history the development of a city was accompanied by a proportional growth in the parks and market gardens inside the city. This tradition was lost with the industrial revolution where nowadays in cities, cars have the upper hand.
The last 20 years have seen a revival in the venerable tradition of allotments: that is gardens inserted into the city fabric and assigned to citizens, but owned by an association or the town council. They are worked by amateur gardeners, and in this case, the pupils.
The building is supported on a slim winding framework with an hourglass shape, giving it a perfect balance; an installation in the garden of a modern art museum. Although the building sits atop the fortifications like a lantern, the folly does not interrupt the grassy path running along the city walls as tradition requires. Here this is reinterpreted as a smooth lawn, surrounded by shrubs, it might seem as if it immersed in an orchard; keeping a watchful eye on the gardens lower down.