Tomas Ghisellini Architects
Lecce, Italy | View Map
Project Year
Sports Centres

© Tomas Ghisellini

MEET & (GR)EAT | Sustainable rehabilitation of Montefusco Park into a leisure and sport open-air hub

Tomas Ghisellini Architects as Architects

The challenge is to conceive the regeneration from below of this piece of city by reshaping an alternative and integrative place to the fabric of the area's uniquely sporting functions. Contemporary culture, in its most recent epochs, has expressed a particular benevolence towards urban transformation initiatives that have been able to well interpret the hybrid, unstable and changeable character of the new social structures. This appears as a clear directional signal towards the procedures for planning and rethinking recovery logics: no longer single-functional, specialist or "closed" interventions but proposals that can be altered, modified, implemented, rewritable, mixable or even removable according to needs of use and "consumption" of increasingly liquid, multiform and metamorphic cities.


For this reason, the project proposal draws a heterogeneous scenario that identifies sport as only one of the possible tools for community involvement: body health deriving from dynamic maintenance and training activity is associated with psychophysical health deriving from proper nutrition and its exercise in conditions of cool collective sharing, common exchange, social cohesion.Finally, the activities related to sport and exercise will find new opportunities for enrichment, integration, sophistication, hybridization and completion in the scenario proposed by the project. Because if it is true that sporting activity is normally followed by hunger for the biological need for new energies, it is also true that a large meal can be neutralized by a good dose of exercise!


Sport and food live the vicissitudes of an infinite alliance. Or an equally endless battle, depending on the point of view from which you want to look at this story! It will be a new agora for Lecce in the coming years, an ancient yet so current place where (return to) to deposit the sense of belonging, the unconditional love for our extraordinary cities, the passion for our origins, the collective feeling. Meeting, being together, eating great: all this will be MEET & (GR) EAT.


The project proposal starts from the recovery of one of the fundamental systems of knowledge, measurement, regimentation and systematic governance of the Apulian territory: the orthogonal matrix. Boundless extensions of "designed" lands, the buildings for the control and care of the lands, as well as the wonderful olive groves that the whole world looks at with admiration, find in the regular knitted fabric the original formal device.


Thus the project proposed here, which spreads an ideal 2x2 meter orthogonal mesh matrix over the entire intervention area, tracing the ground, as on a canvas, the temporary and light design of the original plaster lines. This simple operation transforms the place into an almost abstract space of playful ancestry, a fascinating chessboard on which to play the great game of the near future.


The points of the matrix, according to regular aggregation schemes, are partly colonized by the installation of vertical elements, similar to slender cruciform stems, deriving from the assembly of the wooden recovered profiles according to a compositional scheme that leaves a fascinating void of approach between the main uprights.


A sort of curious "molecular" piling sets up some small habitable rooms together with a series of occasions and multifunctional supports for an abacus of potentially infinite differentiated uses: supports for light sunshades, supports for free-body sports equipment (backs, pull-up bars , vertical horses, etc.), uprights for game nets (minivolley, beach-tennis, etc.), poles for banners, signs and flags, anchors for suspended aerial lights, hooks for hammocks and relaxing beds outdoors, struts for children suspended belvedere and much more.


Walkable vegetable mats in coconut fiber sample the "floors" (breathable and permeable to water) of the rooms designed by the minimal wireframes of the colored stems. The rugs, treated with natural colors in accordance with those of the corresponding vertical wooden reference elements, will be fixed to the ground by means of removable stainless steel ground pegs, with an accident prevention flat head and completely disappeared.


In the fabric of the individual elements and micro-equipment, a real pavilion, protected by an articulated wooden cover and permeable fabrics similar to a lace, houses the equipment and functional activities related to the sale and to the administration of food and drinks. The space will be transformed into a café, cocktail bar, gourmet restaurant, trattoria, street-food point and more depending on the needs and calendar appointments throughout the year. The confines of the pavilion, designed to constitute landing thresholds from both inside and outside, will act as interchange margins for the maximum enhancement of sharing, while in the free appurtenances all around suspended curtains will protect in a suggestive flexible confidentiality seats and tables for consumption.


The color will intervene to characterize spaces and areas in a recognizable way, orienting the perception and giving the place (by continuous visual overlapping of the vertical elements) a changeable character, an iridescent aspect at every step. Pavilion and recreational-sports equipment will take on different colors depending on the function, clearly and visually appealing the passage from one to another of the environmental "rooms" where to relax, have a drink, play or simply be in the company of other people.


Exceptions to the preordained system of the regular point grid, a series of stylized cacti arise spontaneously here and there from the ground like sculptures. Modeled from plump, simple interlocking wooden discs, these succulent prickly pears identify points of perceptual orientation within the homogeneous and always identical fabric of the polychrome piling. The reference to the prickly pear cactus winks at one of the oldest presences in the area, a perfect example of environmental resilience, adaptability and economy of resources which still today represents one of the images most strongly associated with regional iconography and, in general, to the image that most of the landscapes of the south.


The metabolism grid system provides infinite possibilities for colonization of the soil as well as for replication and extension of the solutions composed according to extensions and subsequent additions that are entirely congruent with what has already been achieved. The ordering principle also allows modifications and recompositions of the previous configurations, thereby not compromising the overall coherence of the design scenario.

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