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Ecomuseum of the coastal landscape

Project for the improvement and redevelopment of the coastal area of the Marinas of Melendugno

  • Client:
    Regione Puglia
  • Year:
  • Type:
    urban planning
  • Status:
  • Team:
    archt. R. Russo, archt. F. Govoni, archt. F. Orsini, archt. E. Greco, archt. G. Chiummiento
  • Consultants:
    eng. A. Perrino, dr. T. Semeraro, dr. R. Aretano
  • Location:
    Melendugno (LE) - Italy

The main goal of the design competition, that is to give shape to '"Ecomuseum of the coastal landscape", means, first of all, knowing how to read and interpret a problematic and complex area, the marinas of Melendugno, which has undergone, over the last sixty years, drastic and violent transformation processes. This complexity is rooted in spatial morphology of a strip of the Salento coast where the boundary between land and water has always been very thin and vulnerable to the force of the sea of the Strait of Otranto and its prevailing winds from the Northeast. What was once a single territorial system has been heavily eroded and compromised, as well as dismembered, with a strong urbanization that has marked all the marine of Melendugno. To this day, the most noticeable result of this anthropic process is the budding of landscape emergency situations disconnected from each other, interrupted by urban agglomerations and human activities spread. The most visible aspect of this process is that the territory of marine of Melendugno is characterized by parallel areas "compressed" in a few square kilometers, and "pressed" each other. These areas are easily categorised in succession: sea - coast - built environment - agricultural land. On the one hand, the anthropic system, with its uncontrolled urbanization process, compressed existing natural areas by reducing them in quantity and quality; on the other hand, the erosive action of the sea has inexorably and slowly compressed the coastal strip. The result of all this was the progressive reduction of the coastal strip. From this territorial reading, highlighted the landscape and cultural potentiality and critical issues, comes up the need to take action in accordance with a strategy to protect the coastline triggering renaturalization processes, re-appropriation and awareness of the places. This design strategy, therefore, aims to "compress" the man-made environment and "decompress" instead of the natural environment in favor of a general renaturalization process, expanding the spaces of existing natural systems (adding new ones where needed ) and landscape features on site, incorporating all public functions (naturalistic routes and pedestrian and bicycle paths, relationship spaces, toilet facilities, parking lots...) identified by the DPP. In this process of expansion of natural areas, where the reduction mechanism existing until now is reversed in terms of quality and quantity of this, the public space system becomes the matrix reinforcing the project strategy: this is conceived as an open, "weak and scattered" area, able to accommodate, over time, programmatic and use changes, defining a resilient landscape. The evocative image to clarify the will of the project further is to "make thicker" the line, or rather the coastal strip, giving to it a "thickness" that expands the existing spaces. The new territorial vision, that the project proposal provides, rereads the scope of Melendugno as a one single "greenway" or "ecological corridor" linking the two protected wetlands, namely Le Cesine to the north and Lakes Alimini to the south, in a unique environmental system. The new "greenway" systematizes all "natural" remains, but also all the cultural, architectural, archaeological and landscape emergencies, restricting the man-made environment and decompressing the natural environment in favor of a gradual process of renaturalization.