Anastasia Bergamo + Enrico Berti + Filippo Bison + Gabriele Folador
Florence, Italy
@_anastasiabergamo + @enrico.berti + @pippo.bis + @gabiele_folador

The project was developed in respect to the historical function of the square, paying particular attention to its role within the city and its central position which connects the church to the main Florentine monuments, like Piazza della Signoria. The idea is to maintain the concept of piazza as a free space, but given the complexity of the urban context our project proposes the construction of an underground Museum of Arts and Craft (MAMe) to emphasize the square free space without occupying it.

The new square will develop on the limits of the ancient fence, which was already present in old historical maps, like “Pianta del Buonsignori di Firenze” of 1584, and today still clearly visible. According to our project the area inscribed within this limit will be excavated in order to create a new physical and visual relation with the church of Santa Croce, further enhancing its monumentality. The aim is to still be able to accommodate city manifestations on the piazza through the excavation of a lower “plateau”, a new hybrid space, with the appearance of an amphitheater.

From a technical point of view the square will become a “cavea” fit to host a large number of different settings. Moreover, the excavated plateau, provided with perimeter steps, allows the organization of the historical Florentine football. The new lower space is not only designed as a stage to perform events, but also as a daily, public and freely accessible garden. A monumental park that recalls Campo Santo in Pisa. This space is the product of architecture which does not impose behaviors, but let the audience free to interact with it.

The road traffic will be suitably reorganized to make the piazza a pedestrian area. There will be an underground parking, located at the second floor, just under the plateau, which access is granted by a ramp set in Via Antonio Magliabechi. Along Via dei Benci instead, according to the project, where road traffic will be allowed only to public transports, there will be the new entrance of the museum: a distinctive item, a sort of totem, which open up to the main vertical distribution of this system. The new entrance has to be considered as a connecting passage to lead the audience from the public space outside to the excavated square and to reach, finally, the private area of the museum.

The museum, set at the second underground floor below the current level of the square, rise up as a ring surrounding the auditorium. Exhibition spaces and the workshop rooms are designed to be linked together to let interactions grow harmoniously in order to establish connections between the act of creation and the time of exposition. Zenithal light spreads inside the museum through long openings which reach the two underground levels creating suggestive plays of light, both along the double-height corridors and in all museum rooms.

The new square will be a flexible space for the daily life of the city, in which what seems a radical transformation is in reality an attempt to maintain and to restore its historical features. Respecting the Franciscan architectural tradition, the new area will have an essential design intentionally and will be built with material pigment of “Pietraforte”, a yellow-brown sandstone, to maintain a sense of visual continuity within the urban context, but at the same time, the aim is to give the square a highly contemporary profile.

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