Nuovo Picchio: the Reconstruction Workshop’s last pill of beauty
13 May 2019
The grand opening of the Nuovo Picchio socio-health center will be held in San Felice sul Panaro on Saturday, June 1st, 2019, a few days after the 7th anniversary of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the Emilia Romagna region in one of the saddest pages of Italian history.
This is the last of five projects developed thanks to Nuova Polis, the trust fund established by Confindustria, Confservizi, CGIL, CISL and UIL for the population, workers, and production systems affected by the earthquake. A great initiative for which workers and industrialists stood side by side, the former donating the value of one hour of their work and the latter adding an amount equal to that given by their employees.
This cooperation and collective effort has led to the construction of five buildings, i.e. the House of Music in Pieve di Cento (Bologna), the sports and culture center in Bondeno (Ferrara), the recreation center in Quistello (Mantova), the new dance studio in Reggiolo (Reggio Emilia), and the Nuovo Picchio care home in San Felice sul Panaro (Modena).
All these projects aimed at bringing the areas hit by the earthquake back to life, creating functional buildings that met the needs expressed by workers, their families, and the companies they worked for.
“Five pills of beauty”, as Mario Cucinella has called them. And to create them, the famous architect involved Arianna Balboni, Mirco Bianchini, Francesco Galli, Valentino Gareri, Federico La Piccirella, Clelia Zappalà, six young architects and engineers (all under the age of 30) from the areas affected by the earthquake.
Five pills of beauty that embody the idea of care and sustainability, are rooted in the territory, and use architecture to meet the people’s need for community spaces.
“Our aim was to combine specific features of the landscape and places with innovation and distinctiveness,” explained Marco Dell’Agli, head of the Reconstruction Workshop projects, in an interview with Giornale dell’Architettura. I can’t say that the result was a single architectural style, but we did avoid anything overbearing because we wanted these buildings to be easy to use for the communities they were intended for. Moreover, we explored several construction technologies of local companies, and we tried to apply them to our projects. This way, we have honored all the people who have made this initiative possible thanks to their work.”
An initiative that will reach its completion with the grand opening of the Nuovo Picchio care home in San Felice sul Panaro, a facility that will accommodate up to 22 guests with severe disabilities and serve the community of nine municipalities in the northern part of the Modena province. A barrier-free space designed around the archetype of the barn with large windows that ensure visual continuity between the interiors and exteriors. The outdoor green areas are designed in accordance with the principles of the healing garden, which promote and improve the guests’ health and wellbeing through particular plants and paved pathways, transforming the garden into a therapeutic space.
As Mario Cucinella said a few years ago, “reconstruction in Emilia Romagna has shown how the architecture of new schools and community spaces have represented the strength of a community. […] High-quality architecture promotes values, such as beauty, design, environmental quality, innovation, and sustainability, thereby enhancing the value of the territory while creating empathy with the landscape. Beauty is indeed contagious!”