Forte Col Badin

Intervention: structural reinforcement, conservation, restoration, technological and system upgrading, functional adaptation.

Chiusaforte (Udine), Italy, 2007 - 2009
Purpose: Multi-functional Centre for exhibitions and conferences, refreshments and accommodation.
Client: Municipality of Chiusaforte
Dimensions: Total surface area of the lot 5,393 m² - covered surface area 1,253 m²
Status: completed

Built between 1904 and 1907 by the Italian army, the armoured Fort of Col Badin was one of the first strongholds forced to face the advancing Austrian army after the defeat at Caporetto. It was later used as a barracks and training base for many decades before being decommissioned by the army. The Municipality of Chiusaforte acquired the premises in 2001, and made the decision to renovate and develop it to be used for cultural and accommodation facilities.


At the start of the restoration project, Forte Col Badin was a gloomy, time-worn building, marked by the passage of soldiers and curious spectators. It was the mirror image of the first world war, a conflict that seemed as though it should last only a few months and produce an easy victory due to the innovative weapons manufactured on an industrial scale and the courage of the armies, but which instead continued for years and became a daily battle in the mud of the trenches.


Our project sought to commemorate this aspect – that common features of all wars are misery, degradation, consumption, and the persistent closeness of death.


Restoring buildings, preparing the museum exhibition and setting up content formed the three phases of a unique project aimed at keeping the memory of the war alive.


As part of this goal, we have chosen to keep alterations to the buildings at a minimum in order to enable visitors to “read” the faint traces of the old equipment, paving and facings. Visiting the fort therefore involves rugged walkways with difficult paths, in a damp, cold environment.


As with the buildings, the objects found in these valleys have not been restored, but frozen in the state in which they were discovered. The finds, which surfaced spontaneously or were located with metal detectors, came from the ground or from the limestone slabs where they had been abandoned. These are all that remains of the soldiers who passed through this front, and visitors can touch the original manufacturing, the type of workmanship, the material, the level of consumption, but also the damage brought by the enemy and the ravages of time. Touch can communicate more information than any words in a caption.


See the photo report on the helicopter flight of the four domes transported to complete the gun turret.

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