Urban Mining. Rigenerazioni urbane. XXV Gallarate Prize 2016


The river Arno has had historical importance in defining the urban form of Gallarate, where, however, there are no buildings or public spaces that have a significant relationship with water. Today, the urban role of the stream of water  is that of a “weak” element, the value of which is perhaps not immediately apparent.

During our site visits and the analysis of the documents to which we had access, two opposite aspects have struck our attention: on one side the river appears as a problematic element, a potential source of risk and degradation; on the other it is a positive natural presence, able to bring the lush vegetation and the animals living in its banks inside the urban fabric.

Arno’s double nature correspond to two systems of artifacts, pointing out the relationship between the city and the river: the system of physical and technological elements of containment and control of the water and the architectural protection elements (parapets) of the bridges, which are the only interface between the urban public space and the space of the river .

Developing the analysis of these two systems, we realized how their elements can be read as part of the long history of man’s struggle against nature, in order to “tame” and turn it into a comfortable environment for the their lives.

Our proposal for the Gallarate Prize is a contribution to the construction of a shared imagination around the Arno river that goes beyond the clichés on contemporary ideas of nature and city, starting from the duality and the conflict that we have identified, leading to the formation of a more precise urban identity.

The “Arno” project call for the creation of a collection of objects that build a new brand identity “Arno” and the opening of a temporary shop dedicated to the river in the center of Gallarate. There citizens and visitors will be able to buy them and in the meantime it will be possible to  collect experiences and informations capable of creating a shared and collective imagination on the creek, its vegetation, the animals that inhabit it, its potential and its history.

Inside the museum we exhibited a book and a drawing that illustrate the investigation on which the intervention realized inside the urban space is based on.

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