ANIMA Cultural Center in Grottammare \ Bernard Tschumi Architects

• March 2, 2013

A CULTURAL, SOCIAL, AND ARCHITECTURAL GENERATOR OF EVENTS, ANIMA IS THE NEW PROJECT BY BERNARD TSCHUMI IN ITALY.

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courtesy Bernard Tschumi Architects

ANIMA is the first project by architect Bernard Tschumi in Italy. Commissioned by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ascoli Piceno and by the Municipality of Grottammare, it is meant to generate stronger ties between the people and the territory, as well as to associate its image to the most diverse manifestations of culture in the form of a public center. The project, whose completion is scheduled for 2016, is a future point of reference, a generator of ideas in the area, both in the sense of a physical built structure but also figuratively inherent in its creative potential. Placed at the fringes of the urban fabric, between the sea and hills that characterize the landscape, the building is clearly visible and immediately accessible from the Adriatic highway. The spatial design is characterized by an exceptional flexibility, floor areas, structural systems, and vertical movement (stairs, elevators) organized in such a way that changing demands can be accommodated.

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courtesy Bernard Tschumi Architects

The decision to entrust Bernard Tschumi with this task was based on his extensive and varied experience designing spaces intended for culture. The name of the project, ANIMA, is the result of a public referendum for an acronym of the following concepts: A for Art, N for Nature, I for Ideas, M for Music and A for Action. These are the “five souls” of the project, which Bernard Tschumi used to generate the artifact: an identity in constant flux. The building will be a catalyst for people’s interests, interaction and synergy, promoted by clients who understand architecture as a process rather than a final product.

The basis for the commission of the project is expressed as a willingness to support and encourage the economic development of the community, as a process to strengthen people’s ties to the territory with which they identify, as a means to progress local knowledge and, finally, as a means to improve the qualitative and quantitative tourist flows in the area.

Vincenzo Marini Marini, president of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Acoli Piceno and Luigi Merli, Mayor of Grottammare.

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courtesy Bernard Tschumi Architects

The encounter, hospitality and gathering of cultures. The aim of ANIMA is to host the various forms of local culture that find expression through artistic, gastronomic and environmental means. The objective is to promote the encounter, interaction, and exchange through widespread activities: shows, exhibitions, conferences and workshops that describe the existing territory and envision its possibilities for the future. The project is thus configured as a dynamic space, in constant evolution, that will in essence never lack cultural significance, its temperament as mutable as the expressions that will find home in its interior. A point of excellence which will help generate activities, ANIMA will encourage community groups and foster local productivity, thus becoming an urban generator for the development of the area. A center of excellence and creativity of local resources is born.

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courtesy Bernard Tschumi Architects

A perfect square and a permeable envelope. The surface area on which the building stands coincides with that of the small medieval center of Grottammare, which is little over 7,000 square meters. The project recalls the historic heart of the city not only in its size; it also refers to the concept of urbs. On the outside ANIMA is presented as one single entity with a strong presence; a compact body, a perfect square that in some ways alludes to the notion of enclosure and protection. However, at the same time, it conveys the image of an architectural space in a constant state of becoming. A reflection on the definition of facade is in fact what brought Bernard Tschumi to create an informal solution for the grand vertical surfaces that enclose the building. These walls find the strongest expression on the southern side where the building’s interior spaces are accessed. Seen from the outside, the volume is understood as a recognizable artifact that exists in light of the resources in the vicinity and finds resolution as a highly permeable and contextually receptive building.

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courtesy Bernard Tschumi Architects

The systems of courts and the main room. Upon entering the quadrangular body, the visitor finds himself in a space partly broken up: meaning it is understood as both interior and exterior. The complexity of the space is determined by the rotation of a large rectangular volume that occupies the center of the building and contains the main room with 1,500 seats, which are configured according to the varying capacity requirements. The rotation of the volume creates four large courtyards, the main room thus faces and can open up to, creating in the end a series of fluid and dynamic pathways, traversed by either the eye or the visitor. An articulate system of ramps permits movement, creating perspectives at varying heights each of which illustrates the new ways in which the space may be understood. Adjacent to the main hall, connected by a multiplicity of pathways, a series of laboratories, offices, the cafe and ancillary spaces that compose the rest of the building.

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courtesy Bernard Tschumi Architects

Could one design a facade without resorting to formal composition? Could one design a facade that would be neither abstract nor figurative, but formless, so to speak? Our motivation in raising these questions was both economic and cultural: At a time of economic crisis, to indulge in formal geometries made out of complex volumetric curves did not seem a responsible option. The time of “Iconism” seemed to be over, together with the arbitrary sculptural shapes of the recent past, often done without consideration for context, content, or budget.

Bernard Tschumi

With the presentation of the schematic design, the team of architects, coordinated by Alfonso Giancotti, have begun to undertake the next stages of the design process of ANIMA, whose construction is intended to start in approximately a year (early 2014).

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courtesy Bernard Tschumi Architects

ANIMA ACCORDING TO BERNARD TSCHUMI ARCHITECTS

Facades are a relatively recent invention. For thousands of years and until the Italian Renaissance, the appearance of buildings’ outer walls was generally dictated by the limitations of stone, brick, or wood construction. The Renaissance, by separating the building’s outer bearing wall from an applied surface treatment, allowed formal composition and classical orders. In the 20th Century, modern construction techniques and major cultural changes led to an abstract, modernist sensibility, while keeping the notions of formal composition inherited from the Renaissance. A postmodern reaction to modernist principles was to be witnessed with a return to premodern historicist connotations, as displayed in the “Strada Novissima” exhibition at the 1980 Venice Biennale. Postmodernism was short-lived, however, as much of the late 20th Century saw a rejection of formal facades by replacing them with the concept of envelopes, hence abandoning the distinction between vertical wall and horizontal roof. From the Parc de la Villette onwards, much of the work of Bernard Tschumi Architects has been characterized by investigative work on envelopes, using vastly different materials and depending on both concept and context. For ANIMA, however, Bernard Tschumi has decided to see whether it was possible to re-address the question of the  façade as a simple vertical plane, this time without the formal compositional techniques used in design from the Renaissance onwards.

Could one design a facade without resorting to formal composition? Could one design a facade that would be neither abstract nor figurative, but formless, so to speak? Our motivation in raising these questions was both economic and cultural: At a time of economic crisis, to indulge in formal geometries made out of complex volumetric curves did not seem a responsible option. The time of “Iconism” seemed to be over, together with the arbitrary sculptural shapes of the recent past, often done without consideration for context, content, or budget. Similarly, the conversation in certain architectural circles that claimed the necessity of an “autonomous” architecture, rooted in the constants of history, seemed obsolete at a time when a dialogue with other disciplines, from art to literature to music, was exactly the goal of the ANIMA project. It was not an accident that we examined the work of Vedova, Burri, Manzoni, Fontana, and even Fazzini, an artist born and active in Grottammare. Each artist informed us about a specific Italian condition that was different from the one practiced in Shanghai, Dubai, or Mumbai.

For ANIMA, rather than adding another autonomous, iconic sculptural shape, we decided to investigate interaction, simplicity, and sobriety. We felt that the interior organization of the spaces (the cortile concept) was socially and culturally important, but that the outside image of the project was equally significant. So we devised a simple square plan, with four equivalent facades and, as the roof, a fifth facade, each with its own vocabulary, so as to take into consideration issues of sun protection, natural lighting, and ventilation while projecting a strong identity to the outside world. In short, the interior of our project is like a small ideal city, with its four interior courts and its Main Room, while the exterior of our project is an exploration of contemporary sensibilities and culture. ANIMA is an intellectual and social project rather than a formal one, and can be summarized as an answer to the following question: how can a building be simultaneously abstract and figurative, simple but not simplistic, economical without being cheap, while conveying a strong local identity and a global commitment?

Bernard Tschumi Architects

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILES

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Bernard Tschumi

BERNARD TSCHUMI, ARCHITECT. Bernard Tschumi is widely recognized as one of today’s  foremost architects. First known as a theorist, he drew attention to his innovative architectural practice in 1983 when he won the prestigious competition for the Parc de La Villette. He opened the head office, Bernard Tschumi Architects (BTA), in New York in 1988. Bernard Tschumi urbanistes Architectes (BTuA) was established in Paris in 2002 to act as executive architects for BTA’s French projects. A graduate of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Tschumi has taught architecture at a range of institutions including the Architectural Association in London, Princeton University, and The Cooper Union in New York. He was dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University from 1988 to 2003 and is currently a professor in the Graduate School of Architecture. Among his most recent projects are: the new Acropolis Museum in Athens (2009), the Cultural Center in Bordeaux Cenon (2010), the Ale?sia Museum and Archaeological Park (2012). Mr.Tschumi is international fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in England and a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects and of the Colle?ge International de Philosophie and the Acade?mie d’Architecture in France, where he has been the recipient of distinguished honors that include the rank of Officer in both the Le?gion d’Honneur and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. The many books devoted to Tschumi’s writings and architectural practice include the four-part Event-Cities series (The MIT Press, 1994, 2001,2005, 2010); The Manhattan Transcripts (St. Martin’s Press / Academy Editions, 1981 and 1995); Architecture and Disjunction (The MIT Press, 1996). His most recent book is Architecture Concepts: Red is Not a Color (Rizzoli, 2012). A series of conversations with the architect has been published by The Monacelli Press under the title Tschumi on Architecture (2006). www.tschumi.com

ALFONSO GIANCOTTI, GENERAL COORDINATOR. Alfonso Giancotti studied at the E?cole Nationale Supe?rieure d’Architecture de Paris La Villette and at the Faculty of Architecture at “La Sapienza” University in Rome, where he graduated in 1994. Adjunct professor in architectural design at “La Sapienza”, he studied and collaborated with Maurizio Sacripanti. He couples his activity as a designer with scholarly research, publishing articles and books on contemporary architecture. Between 2000 and 2002 he was architectural supervisor for the construction of Renzo Piano’s City of Music in Rome. In 2004 he founded his own practice, NOOS and in 2009, he co-founded with Barbara Elia the office Elia Giancotti. Among his completed projects are the Visual Arts Learning Complex in Ceccano, the Sports Center in Roma, the Headquarters for the International Center for Relativistic Astrophysics in Pescara. The book Tanto al metro quadro (Prospettive Edizioni, 2008), with essays by Michele Costanzo and Federico De Matteis, presents his recent projects.

+ Project data & credits

Clients: Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ascoli Piceno – Municipality of Grottammare
Sole project manager
: Marco Marcucci – Municipality of Grottammare
Architect
: Bernard Tschumi – BTA Bernard Tschumi Architects (New York)
General coordinator
: Alfonso Giancotti / Studio Associato di Architettura Elia-Giancotti (Roma)
Structural engineer
: Michele Tiberi / CAED International Srl (Roma)
Acoustic, lighting and multimedia system designer: Enrico Moretti / BIOBYTE Srl (Milano)
Electrical engineer
: Alessandro Federici / Studio Tecnico ing. Alessandro Federici (Ascoli Piceno)
Mechanical and hydraulic engineer
: Giuseppe Puglia / Studio Tecnico ing. Giuseppe Puglia (Ascoli Piceno)
Safety coordinator
: Fabio Giannini / Studio di consulenza e progettazione ing. Fabio Giannini (Comunanza, AP)
Geologist
: Vittorio Marucci / Studio Associato di Geologia e Geotecnica Marucci (Ascoli Piceno)
Surveyor
: Antonio Morganti / Studio Tecnico Associato Morganti (Spinetoli, AP)
Communication consultant
: Marco Brizzi / Image MEDIA AGENCY (Firenze)
Program: Cultural center

Dimensions
Site surface: 9.225 mq
Building surface: 7.190 mq
Covered surface: 6.150 mq
Maximum height: 30 m

Schedule
Project: 2012-2014
Groundbreaking (scheduled): 2014
Opening (scheduled): 2016

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Category: Architecture, Culture

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