Arcipelago Italia the project of the Italian Pavilion at the Architecture Biennale 2018 has been officially presented. The Italian Pavilion called Arcipelago Italia, projects for the future of the country’s internal territories is curated by the Italian architect Mario Cucinella.
The Pavilion will host an itinerary with hundred stages suggested by small quality architectures realized in recent years and the result of a call promoted by Cucinella last June, will focus its attention on the urban space that runs along the Italian ridge, from the Alpine Arch , along the Apennines, up to the Mediterranean.

Archipelago Italia takes on this important challenge by rethinking a possible future for the country’s interior territories and providing them with a new and different future. The goal of Archipelago Italia is to convey to visitors the soul of these places, but also project them on a journey to the future by investigating the current state and proposing a reflection on current issues such as the suburbs, the post-earthquake, the brownfields , railways and mobility.

Italian Pavilion preview – Arcipelago Italia – Staff Mario Cucinella

Italian Pavilion preview – Arcipelago Italia – Staff Mario Cucinella

Model detail, Sala dell’Arcipelago – Staff Mario Cucinella

Model detail, Sala degli itinerari – Staff Mario Cucinella

“A sinuous dark space that can be seen not only as a set of internal territories, but as a great middle ground framed between the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian conurbations, like a pier stretching out into the Mediterranean, where the traditional contrast between North and South dissolves into to what we can define as ARCHIPELAGO ITALIA. These areas, spatially and temporally distant from the essential service centers, are holders of a priceless natural and cultural heritage, a factor which, combined with their territorial expansiveness, has led us to consider their revival as a highly strategic topic for our country,” explains Mario Cucinella, curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2018 Architecture Biennale.

The five strategic areas identified, which in the past weeks have been the subject of activities for engagement and specific interests, are: the Barbagia with the Ottana plain, in the central region of Sardinia that extends along the flanks of the Gennargentu massif; Valle del Belice with a focus on Gibellina, in western Sicily in the province of Trapani; Matera in its relationship with the Valle del Basento; the Crater and Camerino with the area of Central Italy hit by the 2016 earthquake; and the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines with particular attention to the Casentinesi Forest Park

Arcipelago Italia is an opportunity to foreground the themes on which Mario Cucinella believes it is necessary to work: the role of art and cultural heritage in cities; reconstruction and relationship between temporariness and permanence; new spaces for health the new type of home health, mobility and tangible and intangible connections; the forest and the timber production chain. It is a manifesto that strives to make a contribution and help to the country, suggesting possible paths to follow, giving value and importance to architecture. Padiglione Italia 2108 at Venice Biennale will allow us to better appreciate our country, its most invisible and wounded side but also one that has enormous potential and beauty.

Arcipelago Italia Itineraries- Mario Cucinella

The pavilion will however only be an exhibition of works, projects and good practices, it wants to be more than anything else a useful reflection to the communities of these places, an applied research that can transform the analysis into concrete proposals and then, ultimately, an opportunity for this country to think about its future.  

The development of the proposals has been entrusted to an architectural collective (selected by Mario Cucinella), whose task is to confront the five design challenges in a synergistic way. Of the architectural firms involved, some are linked to those territories, while some have been identified for their talent and their ability and represent a new generation of professionals. Along with them a group of tutors and experts, a team of photographers and local universities, in order to build a strong link amongst disciplines.

The collective consists of: designers: AM3 Architettura, BDR Bureau, Diverserighe Studio, Gravalos Di Monte Arquitectos, Modus Architects, Solinas Serra Architetti; local Universities: Università degli Studi della Basilicata – Prof. Chiara Rizzi, Università di Bologna – Prof. Andrea Boeri & Prof. Ernesto Antonini, Università di Cagliari – Prof. Giorgio Peghin, Università di Camerino – Prof. Maria Federica Ottone, Università di Palermo – Prof. Maurizio Carta; scientific committee to support the research: Massimo Alvisi, Antonella Agnoli, Michele Bondanelli, Matteo Pedaso e Roberta Filippini (LAND), Matteo Marsilio (Domus Gaia), Federico Parolotto & Francesca Arcuri (MIC), Enzo Rizzato; other experts: Giuseppe Zummo (Artist), Vincenzo Messina (Architect), Emmanuele Curti (Archeologist), Sardarch (architecture and research collective); Group to support the participation process: Ascolto Attivo, with Marianella Sclavi, Agnese Bertello & Stefania Lattuille; Photographers: Urban Reports; Mario Cucinella and his staff.

Every month of the Biennale will be dedicated to the deepening of a theme in coherence with the emerging contents of Arcipelago Italia, through four workshops composed of three types of activities: plenary session, round table and workshops. 

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