Taranto Calling, the project of the team led by Stefano Boeri Architetti for the OpenTaranto competition, is among the 3 short-listed winners. The competition, promoted in 2016 by Invitalia, aims to the renewal of Taranto’s historic centre, the Old Town, an island between two seas, with great potentialities but basically abandoned.
Taranto’s Old Town, just like its Cathedral, is a time/space mosaic of ages and projects. A mosaic made up of Hellenic heritage, medieval buildings, Renaissance architectures, fishermen’s houses, commercial hamlets, Baroque churches, docks and modern additions.
Taranto’s Old Town is a palimpsest of works and architectures, left behind by history in a plot of land. A historic area dense with buildings and palaces rising from the sea.
An island made of stone, cut by the narrow breaches of streets and squeezed between the walls and the docks. A monolith surrounded by the sea, carved in caves and passages connecting, along vertical axes, roofs, terraces and the sea level.
Taranto’s Old Town is a living mosaic, as well as the hundred coastal towns in the Mediterranean Sea, crossed by the lives of women and men; by a flow of generations with their own different intensity; by the arrival of boats and ships; hit by the wind and lit by the sun.
Taranto’s Old Town is the mosaic of all the urban landscapes featuring the Mediterranean Sea. An island/town that encompasses, in just a few hundred square metres, between two seas, the inlay of all the coastal and port cities in the Mediterranean Sea. Its power is embodied in its stones, in the memories of ages, lives, cultures, religions, traditions and habits they keep.
But Taranto and its Old Town’s ransom is not a gesture of goodwill, political charity, social assistance or cultural archaeology. It’s the ransom of a whole world of relations, exchanges, utopias crossing an entire geopolitical basin.
The visible collapse of the physical component of the island goes together with the breakdown of the surviving community settled there. Starting from this issue, the inspirational guidelines of the project are addressing the construction of a new community, rather than the restoration of the existing one, able to meet the challenge of making reversible a phenomenon which is threatening the identity of the whole city.
The projects face these objectives, through a series of physical and immaterial interventions, that can improve the quality of life in a transversal way, thanks to the implementation of facilities for citizens, tools and opportunities for the growth of the shared and social capital. Re-inhabit Taranto means to describe a new spatial-social way of living, that makes public space the central axis of transformation, defining a higher permeability and accessibility, inside and outside the island, building up a continuous relation with the sea, which has been too many times rejected.
The urban strategy works on four different levels: belt, tissue, net and poles. The aim is to build a governance system for the regeneration process, including a new welfare urban system and a net of social infrastructures in order to strengthen the urban community, providing facilities for citizens, both temporary and permanent inhabitants.
Stefano Boeri Architetti
Project leader: Hana Narvaez
Design team: Matheus Cartocci, Francesca Da Pozzo, Lucrezia De Marco
SMALL Soft Metropolitan Architecture & Landscape Lab
Antonella Berardi, Architect / Giuseppe Armando Gagliardi, Architect / Raffaella Nanetti, Sociologist / Davide Bazzini, Sociologist Consultant
Luca Molinari, Architectural historian / Maria Teresa Giannotta, Archaeologist / Luca Cianfriglia, Marketing and Smart Planning / Roberto Mezzalama, Ecology and Environmental Protection / Antonella Bottalico, Ecology and Environmental Protection expert / Giulio Farella, Ecology and Environmental Protection / Angel Ibeas Portilla, Mobility expert / Nicola Berloco, Mobility expert / Ilda Curti, Participation and communication expert