Thousands of small cities and towns in Italy have undergone disinvestment and depopulation for over a century now, raising questions about the future of productive landscapes, cultural heritage, urban-rural inequality and social cohesion. 2020 awoke interest in these issues, as remote workers sought out these places and envisioned new alternatives to life in large metropolitan centers. As a resolution to the COVID-19 pandemic appears on the horizon, towns like Palazzolo Acreide are in a race to find innovative sustainable development models to rechart the future of the urban environments and communities. Students proposed an intervention in the urban core of Palazzo Acreide to accommodate a mixed-use program, exploring novel ways to weave life, work and travel. The studio searched for concrete and meaningful ways in which architecture can encourage new ways of living together in the towns of the Sicilian countryside.
This studio rethinks the future of disinvested towns in Southern Italy undergoing changes since the COVID-19 pandemic and the widespread experiment with remote work. Students proposed an architectural intervention for Palazzolo Acreide in Sicily after a series of dialogues with community members, politicians, philanthropists and architects. The studio questioned the role that interventions at the building scale can play as catalysts in their urban context, and explored the architectural devices they can employ to achieve this in compelling ways.
Images 1-6 Coexisting with History, Hailey Alling
Images 7-12 Qualities of a Wall, Parker McKean