14.09.2018  11:30

Three Politecnico di Milano students top the Military Museum contest

They are part of the ZDA team that won the contest for ideas for the Capo d’Orso military artillery in Palau



The ZDA | Zupelli Design Architettura team won the first prize at the Military Museum contest for ideas, organised by YAC – Young Architects Competitions, in collaboration with the State Property Office (Agenzia del Demanio). The five members of the work team include three Politecnico di Milano students: Matteo Leverone, Silvio Lussana and Simone Marzorati attend in fact the laurea magistrale programme run in English in Architecture - Built Environment Interiors.

The protagonist of the contest is the military artillery of Capo d’Orso, in Palau. Carved in the granite of a monumental coast, here memory acquires a physical, almost tangible dimension, and the memory of the past cloaks us in extraordinary realism and intense currentness. Forgotten architectures, which survived their purpose, a vestige of war times.

Military Museum was born in order to transform this place into a museum of military, marine and navigation history, a place where the narration of the events that have involved this tiny stretch of sea can give rise to one of the most fascinating museums of the Mediterranean, transforming the war architectures into new structures with a tourist and cultural vocation, bringing a past of conflict into harmony with a currentness of leisure and escapism.

The winning design shapes up as a story, made up of narrative sequences that summarise and synthesise the different aspects of museum experience in a succession of spaces and design operations that work on defining an almost sacred environment, in which the collected and meditative atmosphere of the memorial combines with the more didactic and educational one of the museum environment.

Pursuant to the graft logic, new volumes have been created adjacent to or over the existing structures, through a non-invasive approach of reuse and re-functionalisation of the current context.

The encounter-clash between the rigidity of the design geometries and the rurality of the existing structures defines a narrative course that translates, right from the entrance, into a sensory experience capable of recalling emotions and perceptions, legacy of a faraway time.

The idea of the route as cognitive element of the site materialises in the choice of brass slab as characterising and recognisable material, in stark contrast with the wild nature and the rural aspect of the place. A continuous, perfect and regular line that delineates, in different ways, the whole site: in the structure used as restaurant, the metal sheet defines a separate volume hidden inside the enclosure from which a fully suspended walkway working on more than one level is detached; in the museum and memorial area, the continuity is established through two overhead walkways, culminating in panoramic overhangs, which run inside the environment along the ancient bastion cells, whose characteristic vaulted shape has sometimes been emphasised by the brass sheet overlay.

The route inside the site runs out on the overhead terracing. Here the redefinition of the external space goes through the careful placement of terraces and partition walls that create and delimit flexible and reconfigurable areas capable of adapting to the different needs of the museum, outlining the parking areas, panoramic viewpoints and exhibition spaces. The partition walls, thanks to their characteristic shape, turn into metaphor of the condition of the sentinels who waited for the enemy hiding behind a shelter, looking at the sea from small cracks, thereby completing the surprise and learning process begun at the entrance.