26 gen 2013

Urban Recycling for the Locarno Film Festival

A new way to think architecture in our social and economic crisis times comes from AZPA (Alejandro Zaera-Polo Architecture). The London-Barcelona based practice has been announced as winner of an international competition aimed to establish a recognisable home for the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. Breaking away from the starchitect notion of public architecture needing to make an “extravagant gesture”, AZPA’s innovative proposal partakes in an act of “urban recycling and sustainability performance” by reusing the pre-existent complex of the Palazzo Scolastico and the Piazza Remo Rossi. Both represents a great opportunity to encrust the Film Festival within an urban structure which has already deep affective relations to the Locarno citizens, and a significant presence in today’s cityscape.

There are two primary aims in AZPA's project:
- Economy of resources through urban recycling. With an estimated price tag of 28 million Swiss Francs, this renovation is said to be no more than the cost of a complete demolition.
- Consolidation and rebranding of the public identity of the "Palazzo del Cinema di Locarno".

As Architect Alejandro Zaera-Polo claims: “I do not want to redraw the city, but keep the city.” Beyond the preservation of the historical memory of Locarno, they believe that the Palazzo Scolastico is an adequate building that deserves to be preserved and recycled. The project aim to transform the building interior courtyard into three larger theaters. Additionally, a complimentary renovation will take place on the surrounding Piazza Remo Rossi, which will be repaved with red natural stone, will become the "Red Carpet Piazza" consolidating the presence of the Film Festival into Locarno’s structure of open spaces.

AZPA declere: “When conceiving our proposal for the Palazzo del Cinema di Locarno, we tried to avoid the dominant trend, prevalent during the last few decades, that public architecture needs to make extravagant gestures in order to curate our cities public realm. In the aftermath of the 2007 global financial crisis, rampant global warming, and perhaps the demise of “starchitecture” as a default procedure to build urban identity, our proposal is guided by principles of economy and the attempt to capitalize on the existing structure and the public affection for the Palazzo Scolastico – which was used to host the local schools and now hosts a variety of NGOs and community associations – to provide an architectural identity for the new cinema complex in Piazza Remo Rossi.”

More info:

photo credits © AZPA (Alejandro Zaera-Polo Architecture)

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