Elena Sofia Calabrò, Margherita De Nardis
Marsala, risen and developed as a maritime town thanks to its strategic position in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, seems to reject and deny the sea. Its history highlights this paradoxical relationship with water: on one side, a geographical and historical feature, on the other side, an element of poor relevance into the current urban dynamics.
These preconditions lay the basis for the project, whose objective is to reestablish the centrality of the sea, exploiting at the same time the intervention as an occasion of revitalization of the urban scenario. The project is extended for a lenght of 12 km, and it is connected with different realities of the town, from the historic centre, to the most industrialized areas, passing through the sprawling suburbs and social housing neighbours; finally, it is connected with the naturalistic system of salt pans at the Stagnone, suggesting potential connections with the city of Trapani and the airport area.
Despite the presence of areas of naturalistic and archeological interest and its strategic position with respect to most strenghtened systems , the town appears introvert and does not effectively embrace the opportunities provided by the context in which it is located.
In Situ, meant as acting on and with the area, aims to the promotion of the territory, distancing itself from traditional methodologies of functional reactivation. The purpose is to act through a spatial and formal redefinition, that favors the comprehension and the use of the unspoken beauty of the place by the community. The project is composed of two typologies of intervention: spread and punctual. The first one is a sequence of rules and indications arisen from the environmental suggestion it is coping with; the purpose is to answer the spatial problems of the territory, predicting potential future transformations. The second one identifies five spots that, for their strategic position, architectural pre-existence, landscape potentiality, are appropriate to host the revitalization of the urban and coastal areas; they require an architectural intervention guided and influenced by the landscape they are inserted in. The intent is to give the requalification a role beyond the economic and functional logic, restoring the contact with the essence of the places, the beauty of the landscape and opening up to multiple future scenarios.
Who influences you graphically?
In our work, we were interested in exploring different kind of graphic languages in order to give the clearest representation of the project and find a own vocabulary to express it. In this landscape project, the sea has a key role to understand the dynamics of the site and our project responses. For this reason, we always gave to it a strong figurative importance, from the first descriptive images to the most schematic ones, from the plans to the renders. We decided to melt the contemporary “line-drawing” graphic with the more traditional nautical and physical maps to give a real perception of the context around and how the project intimately work with (and within) it.
You reveal your proposal through all means of representation, to what extent do you trust that only in this manner it is possible to fully convey a project?
The way we represent the project is the way it communicates with the people who is looking to it. This was a big and complex work of thesis, summarized in the images below, that goes from resolving some landscape problems to design specifics architectural projects. We worked with industrial pre-existences (Nervi’s hangars), unfinished buildings and beautiful but marginalized coastal territories that needed to be rediscovered to achieve a new life. We tried to support and express our work especially with different kind of images: we used diagrams to represent easily architectural and landscape strategy; illustrations to depict the possible future of the landscape thanks to our proposals; line-drawings and renders to explain clearly the project and the feeling of living and experiencing it. The images should allow people to understand the project despite the complexity of the reasoning behind.
What defined the specific framing for each view?
The framing of the images depending by the different type of graphic works that we decided to produce.
For each project, there is at least one panoramic view that framed the site where the project is located and the relationship between landscape and the intervention done. The most vertical images, instead, depict better the internal spaces of architectures. Regardless this, as a thesis work, the images had to observe a range of dimensions.
What was your work process in relation to the images? What tools did you use, which images did you develop before and why?
In relation to the images, we decided to work at the same time with the project; in fact, we thought that the representation was as important as the idea. We always tried to design the architecture, the landscape, and to confirm their strenght by the production of the images and the study of the graphic. We always developed first the landscape images, because for our project, the main thing was to work with the context; so we always tried to understand which was the impact with the place.
If you could add one more drawing which would summarise the intervention, what would this be?
The project was an intervention in Marsala’s waterfront, but the idea was not to organize a longitudinal path who had to resolve different landscape problems; the intent was to organize and renew the different places in relation to the sea. We can say that the project was working first in a transverse direction, always trying to fix the relation between the city and the water. So, we decided not to create a recapitulatory image to emphasize this peculiarity. We made a figurative model who had the role to suggest how the landscape could change, in all its length, with the intervention.