The Poetry of the Ruin

Rewriting of Castiglioncello di Firenzuola


AUTHORS: Zoppi, Lazzerini, Iacopetti
PLACE: Firenze, Italy
YEAR: 2017
STATUS: Unbuilt
INSTAGRAM [1]: @ez_arch
INSTAGRAM [2]: @martina_lazzerini_
INSTAGRAM [3]: @gemmayemma


The anonymous diligence of many moulded the shape of villages and fields. The wall that runs along the path or defines a terracing, the cross that marks a fork or a limit, the grove that screen a place of party or points out a spring, are likewise elements of a language that is able to dialog with us and, starting from this, it has been possible to devise the landscape.

The landscape of Castiglioncello no longer created but it creates itself. Crushing the sign of the past it remains like the only actor in a misrepresented scene. The past co-exists with the present in a dimension where it seems that time has also been forgotten. Why should we prevail? Would it not be possible to find a balance?

The project does not dawn just from a typological analysis, it dawns from a direct experience made by dimensions and drawings, photos and pace, that has allowed us to recreate the lines of a more complex structure than initially presented. The location of the project, that is situated at the intersection between the main axis walking through the historic hamlet (North-South) and the secondary way which bypass the main entrance, housed a massive block of two buildings with different heights, directly pointed to the valley, almost like a continuation of the rocky wall.

Today it remains only an indented perimeter of this volume, made by invisibles signs, absorbed by the nature, to whom match, almost as a joke, a perfectly whole building. This building, of a following era, is matched with a sequence of littles buildings, attached to it as parasites. Based on this analysis, here is the design approach that we wanted to keep: recreate the geometry of what was before and recall its volumes to rediscover the memory of something that looks like empty. The main theme is the corral, a perimeter mended and stuffed by new volumes whom following the pre-existences by height and section.

Although the hamlet architecture can’t be associated with any type of constructive rigor, it was possible to pinpoint a module system arising from a purely functional act: the length of wooden beams in the loft, the slope of the ground, the need to live in minimal spaces, easily redeemable. The system we propose is a continuation of what was built in the past, using the ancient as a guideline, expanding following the theme of spontaneous addiction.There has been a desire to integrate architecture and landscape maintaining a balance between these two, in order to bring everything back into its place.

The new is crossed by landscape views, prospective ways which, thanks to stairs systems, allow the access to indoor and outdoor panoramic views and define the volumes of the ancient. The new built is deprived of a façade making the landscape become one of its vertical pads. The indoor and outdoor front system contributes in order to restore an image as much as possible pertinent to the location, recalling the dimension of the points of view which characterise the streets of the hamlet. The spaces created by this logic have led us to analyse also the theme of the minimal living, joined to the theme of spaces for art, of light and feeling.

The small exhibition space becomes the key to understanding the main themes of the project, indeed in few space a stair allows the access to the exhibition area, to watch the work of artists in the ateliers, to enjoy the landscape by the cut in the front and, ultimately, it turns itself into a sculptural element, almost like a work of art on display. Such reflections have allowed us to understand how much architecture needs to go back to talk about memory, feeling, but above all, about space; so the project wants to remain small action which consents a direct experience of the hamlet and the location, without enhancing anything, without neglecting anything, simply restoring balance.


Below, all the plans and the sections about the building.


Elia Zoppi, Martina Lazzerini and Gemma Iacopetti are Architecture students at the Faculty of Florence and are currently attending the last year of University.

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