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Reuse of a WWII Military Emplacement, Is Mortorius (I)

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  • Reuse of an Anti-Ship WWII Emplacement
    Competition entry, 4th place, Is Mortorius (CA), Italy, 2010 -
  • A competition entry for the masterplan of a "natural protected area" around a former Second World War anti-ship emplacement of the Italian Navy. The small site shows an incredible sequence of collapsed buildings spanning from prehistory to cold war: a nuragic village with its fortress, later transformed in observation point during WW II; a spanish tower, whose remnants blend with the granite stones at the tip of the promontory; a tonnara, later used as part of the military base, and after the war as summer camp; a telemetric tower and gun emplacements, served by underground tunnels. 

    The result is a picture of a continuous struggle between man-made environment and natural processes, where periodicals attempts of colonization are followed by a prevalence of natural forces.The project sets itself a bit off this trend, introducing a mild, contemporary approach to the reclamation of the site based on light and reversible actions instead of permanent buildings. 
  • All the program is accomodated within the eroded areas.
    1. Eroded areas (existing). 2. Paths to the seaside (project). 3. Paths to the Anti-Ship Emplacement (project). 4. Paths to the archaeological site (project). 
  • General plan
  • The proposed process follows three major steps: reclamation, re-appropriation, and revitalization. 
    All these steps provide a program that will be accomodated within the eroded areas, leaving the bush, the trees, and the rocks untouched.
    The reclamation phase involves basically a renaturalisation of the eroded zones, the strengthening of the remnants of the ruined buildings, and the construction of an underpass linked to a net of pathways to recreate a continuity between the archeological and military sites on the hill and the military emplacements along the coastline. Two main pathways link the nuraghe with the Spanish tower (north-south) and the Tonnara beach with the western emplacements and beaches (east-west).
  • The re-appropriation phase is enabled by the introduction of shaders and services among the strengthened walls, in order to make the area attractive and pleasant even for short stays. Pioneering architectures made of nets, wooden poles, and wires, reminiscent of the camouflage tents of the WW II, host the new functions under their shadow. 
  • These reversible architectures find in the tensegrity model the most appropriate spatial expression: the dominance of wires and tensile elements over the wooden compressed poles gives a physical impression of reversibility and lightness.
  •  In the revitalization phase some reversible, prefabricated light shells are built inside the existing walls to accomodate new functions, like a scuba diving school for children, a small conference room, shops and other minor facilities. These tentative functions are to be confirmed by the actual use and suggestions coming from the previous phases. The shells are made of two main layers: an inner layer composed of a sandwich of plywood and insulating material holding the bearing posts; and an outer protecting layer made of wooden louvers, co-planar to the existing walls in order to suggest the hypothetical original shape of the buildings, like a dotted line in a drawing.
  • Left: Main Materials: Guariuba wood, polyesther net, existing walls, stabilized earth.
    Right: "Pioneering Architectures", structural schemes.
  • Intervention phases. 1. Reclamation phase. Strenghtening of the existing walls. 2. Re-appropriation phase. Temporary functions (eg. bathing facilities).3. Revitalization phase. Introduction of "reversible shells".
  • Tonnara: perspective and sections of the revitalization phase.
  • Antiship Emplacement: sections of the re-appropriation phase.
  • This process maintains the character and physical substance of the existing buildings, while providing an acceptable confort and flexibility while the programs develops through the various phases. It starts with mini-interventions at a minimum cost, to add progressively more complex functions that interact with each other, triggering a differential, adaptive change.