Equilibri instabili. Il progetto di recupero e rifunzionalizzazione di Palazzo Penne a Napoli
In: U+D urbanform and design: 14, 2020
In 2009, OMA’s project for the refunctionalisation of the “Fondaco dei Tedeschi” in Venice sparked a huge debate. The project was accused of being the emblem of an architectural culture insensitive to the values of the past, an expression of reasons and economic processes that sacrifice architecture on the altar of globalisation. The issue is in itself very complex and involves many aspects, first of all that of a difficult balance between the reasons of those involved in restoration and those who, within the historical city, support the legitimacy and necessity of contemporary architectural design. And if, on the one hand, the former accuse the “new” of being often insensitive to the values of history testified to by the architecture of the past, understood as a palimpsest of signs, on the other, the latter fear that the preservation of these same values may result in a lack of attention to the cultural and social demands of the contemporary world, respect for which is a necessary condition (though perhaps not sufficient) for an architectural asset to be returned to the city, understood not as a pool of experts and authorised workers but as a community capable of recognising itself in it.
The aim of this article is to try and make a contribution to this debate by reporting on the consultancy that DiARC, i.e. the Department of Architecture of Naples, has developed to support the restoration and refunctionalisation project for Palazzo Penne, a historic 15th century building which takes place in the heart of the Ancient Centre of Naples. The project represented an important opportunity for shared reflection on the theme of the recovery and “regeneration” of and in the historic city, a process implemented through continuous steps, from the urban reading to the detail of some significant elements, aimed at the “recomposition” of the different instances, within a unified vision of the building, considered as part of the urban, cultural, social and economic structure of the district to which it belongs.
Keywords: re-functionalization, urban reconnections, old-new.