Regarding buildings from the ruins with Amelia Tavella by Mariana Gutierrez and Sabina Dragomirescu
An undeniable relationship between nature, womanhood, and poetic overviews of her projects, are the potent yet heartfelt factors that Amelia Tavella incorporates with ease into her designs.
Tavella describes her work process similar to an archeologist who searches in the traces of the past for a meaning to our present. Relying on memories and experiences helps projects take shape and come to life, as well as her vision towards nature. Life itself already blooms before any human intervention. An example of this is her renowned project in the island of Corsica, the restoration of a 15th century convent.
“Building from the ruins” as she titles her work for the Convent Saint-Francois, emerges a renovation and extension project in a mountain filled landscape, that transforms what once was a site of prayer into a cultural collective for the Corsica community, without displacing the supernatural and mystic feeling that envelopes the site.
Intertwined trees and overgrown vegetation from the site, was a clear inspiration for Tavella to create an armature that would embrace the ancient convent and feel as a gentle and protective gesture towards the stone monument.
In coherence with her architectural expression, a recurring theme she likes to adopt formally in her studio’s practice, is the incorporation of “skins”, in the case of the Convent of Saint-Francois, a copper framework was added in order to feel like a patina to the building, becoming a second skin that adds another layer of time to the building.
“I have a very poetic, romantic and organic vision of buildings [...] I like that skin bears the traces of time. Each new project is an approach for reflection on the materiality that we will add to it. Each time I enter a new universe made out of wood, metal, and stone. The only condition is that it is a natural material.”
In a world in which architecture may seem to be ruled by men, Amelia Tavella made her voice heard, proving that gentleness and sensitivity can become some very powerful design instruments. She describes her approach as a mixture between feminine and masculine touches, each side completing and serving the other. In her projects, just like Convent of Saint-Francois, one can easily notice the sharp and confident design lines, softened by a refined choice of materials.
Being a big supporter of the young feminine forces in architecture, she finds inspiration in motherhood and family, the desire of giving birth and taking care of someone is an important factor that gives her practice a protective approach towards her designs, resulting in a balance between a nature envisioned use of materials and melodious storytelling throughout her projects.