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Targeting the formula of a Plural identity. By Farah Saab

Orizzontale, calls for a Collective Imagination: targeting the formula of a Plural identity.
Written by Farah Saab

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In a landscape teeming with architectural models, Orizzontale stands out for its innovative  methodologies, filling a critical gap. In the case of Civico-Civico, a tangible testament to this  approach, witnessing the transformation of a Mafia-controlled square into a vibrant public space. Accordingly, how can inclusive architecture generate pluralism?

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A Collective memory

Cities stand as one of humanity's greatest inventions, but when we examine society, we observe a struggle— a collective effort to transcend the confines of territorial conflicts and navigate the complexities of public spaces. Although, public spaces, crucially, are molded by memories, and operate as a perpetual laboratory of experiences. It employs simple methods that fit specific situations but transcend mere functionality.  Instead, it signals a quest for a socially complex context, a search for a genuinely plural identity that  becomes a part of a collective new memory.

Beyond the equation of Plural Identity 

In the realm of plural identity, three pivotal aspects come into play: Temporary architecture, Co construction, and Incremental projects. These facets guide the projects to engage the community in  reshaping and redefining contemporary public spaces. Orizzontale process often starts with urban  storytelling, which serves as the inception of a fresh urban narrative. Ultimately, the aim is to foster the  development of a robust social and cultural identity that serves as the foundation for urban transformation. 

Giuseppe Grant adds: “Temporary architecture grants us the freedom to experiment and, at times, take bold  steps beyond conventional boundaries. These experiments are viewed as reversible and ephemeral  interventions, enabling us to test and understand how to best utilize spaces for the benefit of a growing  community” 

At the heart of Orizzontale’s mission lies the principle of unrestricted access to spaces of expression. Additionally, projects are designed to reignite traditions, draw people back to squares and streets, and  reestablish vibrant, thriving communities.

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Centro Civico - LURT

Located in central Sicily's province of Caltanissetta, Riesi is a town steeped in history, once a granary and  mining center, now grappling with depopulation and marginalization. Inspired by Waldensian pastor Tullio  Vinay, who founded the Servizio Cristiano Center and designed the Monte degli Ulivi Village, Riesi  embraces inclusive architecture, shaped by both architects and the community.

Civico-Civico, a renovated space on the ground floor, symbolizes these efforts, doubling as an open daily  hub for local youth. The project emphasizes adaptability and inclusivity, merging indoor and outdoor  elements to revitalize the urban fabric. The project marks the beginning of a broader urban regeneration  effort in Riesi, aiming to engage youth, foster creativity, and revive abandoned buildings, ultimately  transforming the town and its inhabitants. 

Within this project, Orizzontale encounters not only differences in social classes but also a diversity of  social conditions. The challenge extends beyond these divisions, encompassing history and context. It aims  to stimulate a space that transforms from being under the control of the Mafia to becoming a public space,  owned by no one yet serving everyone. This project encapsulates the essence of architecture, where it serves  a higher purpose—it represents urban transformation and the emergence of a new urban memory that  resonates with humanity at its core.

Architecture as Identity: The Essence of Architecture 

The core principle of architecture lies in grasping a place's inherent purpose. By doing so, we both preserve  the environment and integrate ourselves into a holistic whole. This isn't about environmental determinism;  rather, it's an acknowledgment that humans are an integral part of their surroundings. Forgetting this  connection can lead to both human alienation and environmental degradation. In essence, belonging to a  place provides us with a meaningful and tangible existential anchor in our daily lives. 

Architecture can build pluralism. 

Architecture has the potential to construct pluralism by creating spaces that celebrate diversity, foster  interactions, and address conflicts creatively.  

How can architecture perpetuate pluralism and inclusivity in our constantly evolving society? Furthermore,  if we can achieve design for all, can we also attain design for all time?

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