Caravanserraglio Ferrandina

Biennale Venezia 2018 – a project for Padiglione Italia

©Alessandro_Guida_Urban Reports

Project for the reactivation and re-use of Ferrandina scalo-Matera. It is part of “Laboratorio Basento”, one of the 5 experimental projects proposed for the Italian pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2018. In the context of the Basento valley, the proposal focuses on the mobility and reactivation of railway stations to transform them into places for production and cultural experimentation, to be shared among the villages of the Matera hills.

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A watershed between the rural and the industrial landscape of the mid Basento Valley, Ferrandina station is part of a territorial context in which different attempts at industrialization have left clear signs. The location is the station midway between Potenza and the coastline, a macro-territorial hub in the direction of Matera. The project envisions the station as a hub for the care and growth of the territory, with a logistic role for the sorting of people, goods, and services.

Several design actions (liberating, emptying out, adding, aggregating) will aim to reactivate the factories that compose the scalo, now left in a state of abandon.Former railway buildings are occupied by the territorial development cooperative (which includes logistics and work spaces) and the territorial observatory, which transforms the landscape into a reclamation laboratory. The historical building of the station is rehabilitated with spaces for hospitality and culture, enhancing its meaning as a repeated sign on the territory. All these activities turn towards a free space, a court, ordered by a central shelter, which defines the area of collective and individual local transport, articulating the structure into a contemporary caravanserai.

The architectural project measures the tension between several sites of reflection: the caravanserai as a recognizable place of transit, exchange, and stopping; the infrastructural and logistic spaces, with their standardized components repeated in the various locations; the cantilever as an archetype of the station.
Based on these ideas, the pre-existing volumes are re-used and reconfigured via two elements: the design of the ground and the definition of the perimeter. The ground consists of mineral paving that recalls the color of the land and creates a shared ground for the different functions. Rising up from the ground, the vertical framework structures include or complete the pre-existing buildings. These are assembled so as to compose an atlas of possible combinations: a new facade, a backdrop, an expansion, a covered connecting space.

The image that the project proposes is the result of a path that starts from two opposite points, finding a result in the middle. On the one hand, the attempted comprehension of a complex territorial palimpsest, rich in resources and traditions. On the other, a research on the component, on the practice of construction. The buildings that the project deals with are certainly minor artifacts for marginal functions that often architecture has disinterested in. This project asks to return to be careful for these kind of spaces. Because in a territory that has often been considered the back of other more desirable territories, they represent a resource.

Biennale Architettura 2018, Padiglione Italia, Arcipelago Italia
Laboratorio Basento. Due nodi curativi per la Collina materana
Team: Alberto Bottero, Simona Della Rocca, Niccolò Suraci, Alberto Geuna
Consultant: Emmanuele Curti, Chiara Rizzi, m_ap collettivo
Site: Ferrandina (MT), Italy
Year: 2018