EFA studio di architettura

and project

The completion of Cremona in the City Hub intervention

Emilio Faroldi, Maria Pilar Vettori
Mimesis Editions
Sesto San Giovanni, Milan

The consolidation of the environmental culture, the changing economic dynamics and the recent social and cultural transformations have shifted the barycentre of the project from the "centrality of the function" to the "centrality of the place", activating new lines of research around the question of the urban phenomenon, an essential component of the organisation of the territory and a privileged field of application for typological and technical-constructive experimentation. The contemporary scenario presents often unjustified logics of settlement expansion and an increasingly evident waste of land, making the city increasingly complicated, suffering and disenchanted. In order to stem these processes, it is essential to recover a concept of landscape as an economic and social sphere, a space of associated life and work, whose symbols undergo continuous change in parallel with the society of which they are the living expression. A constant, changing relationship between society and the physical environment, between man and territory, which produces a web of multiple connections between the different individual elements of a framework that is in any case unitary and organic. Designing architecture for a healthy, harmonious and integrated city means triggering possible settlement scenarios that contemplate the use of contemporary techniques and resources within the complex of relationships evident in the lesson of the consolidated historical pattern. The concept of quality of the urban environment, a renewed dimension of hospitality and residentiality, the perception of the value of places, the use of services, are questions to which the new projects are called to ensure adequate responses. The enhancement of the cultural resources of a context is closely related to the renewal of policies and intervention strategies, aiming at the coordination of operational processes and favouring the implementation of integrated action programmes rather than punctual interventions. The future of the city is closely linked to its ability to subordinate functions and forms of planning aimed at optimising its competitiveness and potential for interaction with the context, promoting tools capable of measuring compliance with local roots, settlement density, environmental sustainability and architectural quality. The urban redevelopment programme of the former Annonaria area, promoted by Cremona's Administration through an international competition and the consequent Integrated Intervention Programme called Cremona City Hub, is proposed as a tool through which to activate a process of urban redevelopment of a strategic area and environmental enhancement of the interdependencies between the physical dimension of the buildings and settlement features of the existing city and its unfinished peripheral edges, pursuing a logic of a compact and socially sustainable city, with the intention of producing a unitary design in continuity with the city structure and able to reassign significance to the historical lesson, contain the dispersed city, conserve physical resources, rethink the provision of services, and direct the sustainability of choices. The case of Cremona, taken in this context as a field of investigation and design thought, represents an opportunity to continue a narrative that questions history, the comparison with the beauty of places, the concept of environmental quality and the close connection between urban and architectural design, which sees in the future an opportunity to practice the present by enhancing the past.