Tesi di Laurea

Contemporary ruins. Project experiment in the village of Consonno

Thesis by Fabio Marino - Sandro Riscino - Davide Traina
E-mail: parcodellerovine@libero.it
Politecnico di Milano
Master of Science in Architecture
Speakers: Prof.ssa Monica Amari, Prof. Andrea Gritti
A.A. 2012 - 2013

The "contemporary ruins" are not a particularly Italian phenomenon, the concept of Junkspace, as a "residue" of modernity that uses the land as well as any other available resource, has already been widely outlined by Koolhaas.
However in Italy it manifests itself in a peculiar way, intertwining with the complex social, political and cultural context. Those of unfinished public works is, for example, a typical phenomenon of the Bel Paese; and denotes, as claimed by the research group formed in the association "Incompiuto Siciliano", in depth, the relationship between the state and architecture since the Second World War.
The political, social and cultural choices made by Italy in the last sixty years have been supported by indebtedness, uncontrolled consumption of the soil and the compromise of the landscape; producing vast areas of abandonment everywhere: obsolete architectures or landscapes that it is cheaper to abandon, for the benefit of new land occupations, rather than readjusting to changing needs.

Today the vast interest that can be found in multiple disciplinary areas denotes the widespread awareness of the need to intervene on the problem. The reuse solutions, however, remain outside the traditional economic circuits and are almost always activated thanks to public initiatives or non-profit associations, for civic sense or for the desire to improve the urban condition or protect certain landscapes. For this reason, reuse practices must be able to read the context and integrate into social circuits that ask for spaces for inexpressible needs in the contemporary city: the latent need to make communities, the world of culture, informal art and marginal economies. With these assumptions, the need emerges to make use of cultural programming tools, such as "Cultural Planning", capable of reading the territory in the complexity of its context (lat. Con-Tèxtus: woven together, intertwined) and developing wide-ranging strategies for systematize the potential and resources available, defining the role of culture in the regeneration of abandonment landscapes as strategic.

The semantic dimension underlying the modern ruin is of great interest, also for operational purposes: the ruin here called "contemporary" (to distinguish it from the classical ruin: Roman or Greek, of the romantic "ruinist" tradition). These ruins
"Supermodern" do not take on eschatological meanings, do not trigger reflections on Time nor surround themselves with an aura of sacredness, on the contrary, they almost always arouse indignation and the desire, depending on the case, for demolition or reuse. Living with contemporary ruins, unlike the classic ones, is intolerable for anyone who cares about their territory, but the answers about their future must come following careful analysis that overcome the dichotomy between demolition and complete restoration, both impractical in current economic system.

The project proposed by the thesis work consists in the enhancement and partial reuse of the abandoned building context of Consonno, a fraction of the Municipality of Olginate. Consonno has had three lives: since its birth in the Middle Ages, it has been a small village with a rural vocation, later transformed into a "city of toys" by an unlikely Lombard nobleman and finally abandoned following the failure of the business project. Today Consonno is in an advanced state of degradation but retains a certain charm due to the stratification of stories and events of its recent past, emblematic also of the Italian history of the last sixty years. The project proposes, in collaboration with various actors, the establishment of a place for culture, art and memory, among the ruins of Consonno: a "Park of the Ruins", a place for the "defense" of objects capable of giving birth ideas (lat. parcus: covering, repairing, defending and lat. ruina da ruere: falling, falling, knocking down or (Flick) scr. rùta: "making impetus"). The architectural program provides for the establishment, through the reuse of existing structures, of exhibition spaces, rooms for seminars and conferences, study spaces as well as a support accommodation structure and a "Garden of memory": a field of wheat sown among the remains of the ancient village.
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