Team Representative: Federico Aru (IT) – architect
Associate: Michela Serra (IT) – architect
F. Aru & M. Serra
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
We are two Italian architects, under 30 years old, who studied in the same University and who share common research themes. We have been working together for one year and we took part in many international architecture competitions.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?
The first fundamental issue of our project is to try defining a new meaning of "production" inside the contemporary city. If the aim of the old model of productive city was producing material objects or needs from finished resources, the production inside the contemporary city - under our point of view - has to give space to the unique unfinished resource the man has today: his mind. Therefore the production is a production of ideas, culture and art. The second question is centred around the re-activation of the existing activities of the city through the transformation of the typical macro spaces of the old productive models into human scale spaces. The park wants to be a meeting point, a space of collaboration for the city, for young start-ups, companies, public and private associations, local administration: a large machine of shared culture and innovation.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
The project operates on three main scales that give an answer to the new idea of productive city. On a large scale the project area connects itself with the existing public spaces through sustainable mobility systems; so the park appears completely passable generating new cross urban permeability and connecting the most peripheral and fragmented neighbourhoods of the city. In the short-range relationships the proposal insists on the bond with the nearest existing facilities, basing on the idea that the site transformation might reactivate its surroundings spontaneously. At the scale of the object, the park nourishes from three fundamental elements: the wall, the vegetation and the large pavilions. The project does not completely demolish the existing wall, but considers it as a protection for the existing vegetation, which is made thicker through a very accurate operation. The wall selects and regulates the access to the park and structures its paths. The buildings are considered as large empty containers that might accommodate different uses.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
Both in our academic education and later, we have often dealt with the theme of the projects on different scales, and so with the connections among objects/city/landscape/territory. Our personal researches move for the most part on the reinterpretation of the relationship among the contemporary project, the stratified landscape and the requalification of the historical and consolidated heritage, also through its use with new functions. The same issues have been faced in recent architecture competitions and some of them have been awarded. In our thinking, architecture becomes stronger with very focused and precise actions, because these are those that are necessary for the effective transformation of places. We feel really close to that architecture which is able to integrate itself with places, very few signs and precise ideas. For this reason we take inspiration from minimal architecture and from landscape devices of the Italian, Spanish and Portuguese architecture.
5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
What starts the proposal off has been the consciousness that we were in front of an area with great potentiality not only in purely urban sphere - because key point among consolidated and fragmented city - but above all for its large scale connections with its environment and landscape, its valleys, its specificities. The city of Cuneo has already implemented programs of strategic planning which focus on the theme of the city and its territory, and the same issues have been dealt with in the project imagining a new open, accessible and public agri-food pole that wants to strengthen an already resolute link between urban and rural of this territory. The park, at every scale, tries to anchor itself to existing realities, activities and facilities of the territory and the city like a device that feeds the productive city and transforms itself according to seasons or events, which might contain. The pavilions - that can be recovered in different phases - contain shared spaces destined to innovation, development and exhibition of all the of agri-food products.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
Federico Aru won together with the team 04401Architects two prizes in Europan 13 : a runner-up prize in Azenha do Mar (Portugal) and a winner-prize in St. Polten (Austria). Unfortunately the implementation process of the Austrian site has not advanced, but it has been a good experience of exchange and work with different professional figures. Now this prize represents a new opportunity for the team and we are really glad about that.