Located in the heart of Sicily, Salemi, a town of Arab origin and first capital of Italy, was devastated by the powerful earthquake that struck the Belice Valley in January 1968. From that moment on, its historic centre has long been abandoned; a few restoration works have been carried out as it was preferred to reconstruct affected districts in new sites. Nevertheless, Salemi has generally maintained its medieval structure, still preserving the original attractive landscape of perched village, resulting from security and control needs of an area based on agricultural and pastoral economy. At its highest point, next to the majestic Norman castle, re-erected in the 13th century by Frederick II of Swabia, stands the Mother Church, were acted the architects Álvaro Siza Vieira and Roberto Collovà. Their project, drafted in the early 80's, can be considered as an emblematic case of architectural conservation and cultural preservation. Remains have been seen here in their profound value as a testimony to memory, turning them into charming and moving scenery for the new square created around. The designers considered the traumatic event has a starting point for an overhaul of the historic urban core of the city. They founded the project on the idea of "opening and offering" this sacred space to the town, accepting and integrating the earthquake effects into the architectural plans. Starting from this experience of consolidation and architectural restoration, recalling in its expression Ruskin's romantic memory, this work intends to highlight the historical and today's difficult relationship between ruins and modernity, improvement and destruction, conservation and new buildings design.

The difficult relationship between ruins and modernity: the case study of the Mother Church reconstruction in Salemi (Italy)

VERSACI, ANTONELLA;
2012

Abstract

Located in the heart of Sicily, Salemi, a town of Arab origin and first capital of Italy, was devastated by the powerful earthquake that struck the Belice Valley in January 1968. From that moment on, its historic centre has long been abandoned; a few restoration works have been carried out as it was preferred to reconstruct affected districts in new sites. Nevertheless, Salemi has generally maintained its medieval structure, still preserving the original attractive landscape of perched village, resulting from security and control needs of an area based on agricultural and pastoral economy. At its highest point, next to the majestic Norman castle, re-erected in the 13th century by Frederick II of Swabia, stands the Mother Church, were acted the architects Álvaro Siza Vieira and Roberto Collovà. Their project, drafted in the early 80's, can be considered as an emblematic case of architectural conservation and cultural preservation. Remains have been seen here in their profound value as a testimony to memory, turning them into charming and moving scenery for the new square created around. The designers considered the traumatic event has a starting point for an overhaul of the historic urban core of the city. They founded the project on the idea of "opening and offering" this sacred space to the town, accepting and integrating the earthquake effects into the architectural plans. Starting from this experience of consolidation and architectural restoration, recalling in its expression Ruskin's romantic memory, this work intends to highlight the historical and today's difficult relationship between ruins and modernity, improvement and destruction, conservation and new buildings design.
9789928135018
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11387/10203
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