Text description provided by the architects. Amelia Tavella has just completed the rehabilitation and extension of the Convent Saint-François, in Santa-Lucia di Tallano, Corsica. This partially ruined building from 1480, a historical monument, had been abandoned for a very long time.
“I believe in higher and invisible forces. The Convent Saint-François, built in 1480, is part of this belief. Housed high up, on its promontory, it was a defensive castle before being a place of prayer, of retreat, chosen by monks aware of the absolute beauty of the site. Faith rallies to the sublime”
With his back to the cemetery, he overlooks the village he is watching. It has a front and a backstage. An olive grove is like a collar at its feet, a happy garden of heavenly food. In front of him, the spectacle of the Corsican mountains. Here pulses the heart of Alta Roca. The beauty there is religious, supernatural.
Nature has grown inside the building, Siamese nature slipped between the stones and then transformed into plant armor that protects against erosion and collapse. A fig tree is included in the facade. The wood, the roots become structural replaced the lime. An essential component of the historic monument, we have honored this nature which will have long protected the dormant building before its resurrection. Amelia Tavella has chosen to keep the ruins and replace the torn part, the phantom part, in copper work which will become the House of the Territory.
“Building after ruins is the past and modernity embracing each other, making the promise never to betray each other. One becomes the other and no one is erased. I liked the idea of a possible return to ruin, that the copper could be undone - this possibility is a courtesy, respect, to the past, to Corsican heritage. I built the “Maison du Territoire” by aligning myself with the original massing. By mimicry, I reproduced the silhouette of the pre-existing building.”
Like the mountain scene, Amelia Tavella retraced the blueprint, concerned with the symmetry of Beauty, nothing should strike the eye. She’s haunted by the obvious. Each work is a work of love. Love of the place, of the building, of its mutation as one could say of a species which transforms itself from what it has been.
The copper allowed a gesture of softness, it is feminine like stone. Unlike granite, however, it approaches its grandeur, by its preciousness and its propensity to capture the light, to reflect it, sending it back to the sky like the prayers of the monks and the faithful who address themselves to the Most High.
Its moucharabiehs direct the light inwards, the light captured and diffused as if it were passing through the stained glass window of a church. A noble and dazzling material in the first sense of the term, copper transforms the place into an experience. The sun falls there and carries away.