The poet Gabriele D’Annunzio starts off with these words in the poem “Sa Spendula” (1882) dedicated to the waterfall near Villacidro, defining with a few telling lines the peculiarity of the landscape around the city, located at the mouth of a valley between the mountains. The urban fabric of the city, in particular in its historic part, developed itself in direct relation with the landscape morphology, defining building clusters clung to the rocks, one on top of the other, terraced squares and gardens, narrow streets and steep stairs.
Of course, redeveloping a modern urban area within a beloved countryside has its challenges, mainly balancing a vision that injects a contemporary style with its natural surroundings and historic structures. The design, however, is the starting point, realizing it within the constraints of a complex morphology requires technical precision. Roman civil engineering and consulting firm 3TI Progetti successfully designed the new Civic Centre in Villacidro, Italy to re-interpret the natural surroundings into an urban park, exhibition space, theater and working spaces.
From the architect:
The design of the new Civic Centre in Villacidro is located in a site that is an important urban reference point for the city and its inhabitants, due to its history and its morphological and natural features. The architecture of the new Centre, an essential pole for the city in the future, re-interprets the main aspects of the urban and natural surroundings.
The new building is located inside the historic garden of the Episcopal Palace, on the higher part of the area, minimizing the land use and maintaining the function of its cultivated terraces intact as much as possible. The complex, adapted to the morphology of the site, is opened to the city and becomes urban park, theatre, forum and arena, but also atelier, workshop, exhibition space: a building that is in direct relationship with the historic centre, with the cultural activities inside the Episcopal Palace and the renovated building of the old prisons, that accommodates workshops, learning spaces and exhibition areas.