The renovation of the ex military port near the town of La Maddalena, on the northern coast of Sardinia, includes the renovation of 15.000 sqm of public waterfront (developed along 2km of new equipped quays), a new conference center The House of the Sea, hotel and recuperated existing structures destined for commercial use and nautical events, such as Sea Pavilion. Structured around a harbor of about 700 boats, the project is an articulated composition of new buildings, recovery and reuse of the structures of the ex Arsenal that covers a total area of 155.000 sqm and is inspired on a principle of dialogue with the context, identity and history of the site.
The story behind the project La Maddalena is turbulent and yet also paradigmatic with regards to the relation that exists between politics and architecture. Inspired on a vision for the re-launch of one the most fascinating archipelagos of the Mediterranean – in transition from a dismantled, military-based economy to one based on sustainable and conscientious tourism – the gargantuan effort needed to recover the ex-Arsenal belonging to the navy was given momentum with the opportunity of hosting the 2009 G8 summit there. Beginning at the start of 2008, and with a time frame of little over a year, the project – from concept to planning to design and construction – were completed, driven forward by a combination of rapid political decisions (that needed to recuperate the time lost in the selection of the summit location), the inhabitants’ expectations, the dedication of architects, engineers and functionaries, and the intense effort on the part of the contractors involved.
The effectiveness of the challenge was thwarted only a few months before the summit, with construction at an end, when the site for the G8 was relocated to the earth quaked city of L’Aquila. In addition to the wasted effort of having constructed an event of this magnitude in such a short time span, episodes of corruption linked to people who had taken advantage of the emergency for personal profit emerged only a few months later and the launch of the new port, future economic motor of the archipelago, was blocked because the reclamation of the seabed had not been surveyed adequately.