San Giovanni Bianco after the quarries
- Michele Mazzoleni
A landscape restoration in the extraction areas
The project is an architectural and landscape restoration of a marble quarries in Brembana Valley, the aim of the project is recover these places to enhance landscape and local materials, the purpose is converting the quarries into a cultural spaces and artistic marble experimentation areas.
Today, mining sites like quarries, are perceived as places of degradation. What happens to a quarry after its exploitation? Since quarrying is an inevitable and irreversible process on the territory, the “post-quarry recovery project” is a concept that has to be thought in advance, because it has to be aligned with both the planning excavation process and the metamorphosis involved in the quarry. The San Giovanni Bianco marble quarries are an important example of abandoned places inside the powerful wildness of the Brembana Valley. It’s necessary recover those forgotten places and in particular enhance the beauty of those hidden landscape characterized by fatigue and history of a great past.
The project site is characterized by the presence of natural elements including Brembo river and Valle Parina. In this area two types of quarries are identified with two different project interventions: One is an underground quarry and the other one is an outdoor one. The project first aims at designing low impact interventions, in particular by using waste site material to restore existing buildings and design new architectural solutions. The underground quarry surface area is 25.000sqm and in this site the extraction activity is over. Interventions focus on create and connecting new functional spaces, in this direction the project develops in an ex-working area of marble manufacturing characterized by existing buildings that will be converted into laboratories and services for the artistic research of marble manufacture. Inside, the approach aims at respecting the existing natural “unevenness architecture” of the cave, using marble blocks obtained from the site to design concert hall and a cultural space for events. Two important aspects define this first quarry: Lighting and sound quality. The entire lighting system is hidden in the perimeter of the floor and sound quality is solved by steel devices nestled on the ceiling of the cave, integrated with insulating acoustic panels. Relevant elements of the project are hiking routs that will be converted in new accessible pedestrian paths to connect the quarry sites. In The outdoor quarry the situation is different. This area is in its initial excavation phase, the intervention will develop by change the quarry planning and modifying the extraction process. After the excavations, the quarry will become a “marble park” characterized by big rock volumes that containing services for the new park and the external thermal pool, This will emphasise the relationship between architecture and excavated space. Finally, the project will include a restaurant and Hotel made up of residential units nestled between rocks and trees as support for local mountain tourism and to help artists who will work in the new spaces used for processing of stone materials.