Eco-tech Centre: Humans and the Environment Interactive Museum

Concept of the museum

Convent of Saint Mary of the Angels, known as the Convent of Observance (Convento dell’Osservanza), Brisighella (Province of Ravenna), Italy, 2011
Intended use: museum
Client: Union of the Municipalities of Brisighella, Casola Valsenio and Riolo Terme
Status: project

While we were renovating the Convento dell’Osservanza, the Administration Department of the Municipality of Brisighella became concerned with the best way to define its presence in the area and its relationship with secular society: there is no way of guaranteeing a future to a historical architectural work if the objective of a project is restricted to conservation without assigning a specific goal to it such as a use that could be suited to current times.


In order to realize this goal, we put together a team of professionals from different sectors and invited Francesco Pignataro and Alessandra Ferracuti, experts in designing educational-scientific facilities, to join our efforts. The following issues were analysed: identifying the proper use of the building capable of revitalizing the combination of local identity, culture and agricultural production; restoring the connection between the building itself and the city of Brisighella; preserving the convent’s ancient architecture by renovating the structure of its walls and its decorative furnishings.


Once the stages of research and analysis were completed, we presented a proposal to the Administration Department: to convert the convent into a Centre for Agricultural Studies. The practice of agriculture is something that all continents have in common; it has accompanied the history of humankind for several thousand years and continues to exist – offering the world’s many societies numerous points in common and equally as many peculiarities.This is the focal point for Brisighella and its surrounding areas, where farming has played, and still plays, a crucial role in its (trans) formation.


The architectural blueprint distributes the four “macro-functions” of the Eco-tech Center within the religious complex: in the  Orto Piccolo (ticket office, office space, storage space and car parks); in the main building (the Interactive Museum with classrooms and the Ugonia Civic Museum), in the Gate (the info-point, areas to be used for temporary exhibits, a conference hall, cafeteria and book shop), in the Orto Grande (didactic vegetable gardens, areas to be used for outdoor events, recreation areas).
A reticular system with a fixed modular formation has been designed for the cloisters in such a way as to be used as an exhibit area for all kinds of objects while acting as a vertical connection as well as a feasible walking area along the frame of the entire structure.
 

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