Proposals for Florence by Gruppo Giovani
Architetti Firenze

| 37 comments

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A new inhabited bridge over the River Arno in Florence is among proposals by Gruppo Giovani Architetti Firenze (Young Achitect Group of Florence) designed to provoke debate about architecture in the historic city.

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The group also proposes putting a new glass roof over the Uffizi gallery and removing the dome of the cathedral.

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"Our intentions are to provoke a critical reflection about architectural establishment of our town," says Toti Spataro of GGAF.

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Here's some text about the three proposals plus a list of names of the architects involved:

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The National Library of Florence, La Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, is the most important library in all of Italy and among the most important libraries on an international level. It has a heritage of inestimable value, whether for its completeness or for its value of historical books and documents. It is the destination of hundreds of scholar’s everyday and supplies tens of thousands of information to researchers in Italy and abroad.

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Yet today it is on the verge of collapse:  deprived of funds, of space, and of personnel. To make a comparison, libraries in France (the French National Library in Paris) and England (the British Library) with the same institutional duties, have at their disposition headquarters, personnel  and budgets with dimensions unfathomably larger than that of Florence’s national library.

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For these reasons as well as the importance that Scientific Research and Culture have in the history and tradition of Florence, we have put forward an idea that wants to reassert the centrality of the national library in the city of Florence as well as in the international setting.

We want to shock the city with a new structure that is light and impalpable with a façade that reaches out across the river to join the other side, the Oltrarno, as though it were a modern Ponte Vecchio facing the city and its river with a new look.  We want to give new space and new visibility to an institution that should be one of the founding pillars of Florentine identity and to restore a dignity to Florence so it can establish itself once again in the panorama of world, cultural excellence.

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The Galleria degli Uffizi (above) is a magnificent museum, one of the most important in the world; yet we observe it and perceive it in a space that lacks the ability to reflect its renowned fame. Our project proposes an overlay or roof for the gallery bringing it together with the great square or piazzale; a light and transparent component that respects the continuous rhythms of structures from ancient craftsmen without modifying the view of the surrounding city, as though searching for a new association between the Uffizi of today and that which we dream up for the city of tomorrow: a stretched out gallery that welcomes its citizens with a “magnifico” setting.

We are talking about a dream, about an intervention certainly not alternative but instead complementary to the important project already in progress of a new and greater Uffizi. An intervention conceived with a double perspective, addressed not only to the structure of the museum and its special and symbolic dimensions, but also to the city in order to bestow it with a new frame of reference that recognizes its important status.

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One provocative and yet therapeutic response to the question on how to awaken Florence into the 21st century is to make the dome of the cathedral disappear (above):  if for a year or so we applied a futuristic painting of the dome’s surface, making it transparent, we would be led to ponder its concealment and how its cathedral, Santa Maria del fiore, appears somehow incomplete to us, as well as Florence itself.  With the removal of the above-mentioned icon, the equation is no longer the same and the system has to be balanced out.

The impact of no longer seeing that red silhouette or those big, white, spinal ridges from the streets of Florence or the surrounding hills is something much more than just a visual effect. The psychologically disruptive impact of its emptiness can not be filled with the reassuring presence of the Arnolfo tower or the Baptistery or even other sites like the austere space of Santa Croce or the crypt of San Miniato, the powerful stone facades of Palazzos or the exciting forms of the new building, the Palazzo di Giustizia.

The passing oblivion of the past and of its significance gives us a glimpse at the possibility of Florence returning to be the place where innovations are forged, the great laboratory of ideas, where everything is possible and nothing is too ambitious. Therefore, by seizing the occasion and banishing every defeatist attitude before this impromptu and oppressive “absence”, we today can think about directing our city with those same cultural and social attitudes that characterized the Florence of the past, arming ourselves with the same courage and the same enthusiasm of those who, like us, were architects of Florence, even if from an age long-ago.

This project is an initiative of GGAF, Young Achitect Group of Florence project is by:

Architects: Matteo Caldirola, Nicola Chirdo, Angelo Di Salvo, Giacomo Magi, Federico Musotti, Pierluigi Pala, Giulio Ridolfi, Daniele Sorrentino, Salvatore Spataro, Martina Tempestini, Tommaso Vecci

Collaborators: Angela Battafarano, Salvatore Perrone, Silvia Pintus, Emiliano Ravanelli, Paola Romboli

| 37 comments

Posted on Friday, May 22nd, 2009 at 3:59 pm by . See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • onvn

    Great concept! I think the old should be preserved but not necessarily restored so don’t build PAST buildings TODAY. People need to ‘let go of the past and embrace the now and future’! Don’t reject contemporary architecture – have faith in the architects of today.. Don’t re-do the mistakes of the neo-classical movement in the 18/19th century.. However, if the old is destroyed to make way for the new, or as simple provocations, it is outright disrespectful but since these proposals are to enhance the city and are not simple provocative expressions, I think it should be considered.

    I’d like to see that dome disappearing act happen! Very interesting.. because it is only temporary and it’d be really interesting what people think about it..

  • eb

    crazy!

  • Justin

    The invisible dome design strikes me as being somewhat inappropriate. It seems like a rather low tech, or at least unresolved, attraction. The old disappearing act, just seems sort of under-designed.

    For one thing, it implies a highly tentative approach to updating the city. To say that a benefit is that it doesn’t actually alter the structure. This is more of an installation than architecture.

  • man

    disaster!

  • man

    last year i had been to florence, it’s a great city. i am not against contemporary architecture, but italian architects today should be ashamed with their achievement.When i see meier’s project in Rome as well as this proposal in Florence, i am totally disappointed!

  • Post

    while the bridge has some serious qualities and the disappearing dome (however it might be done, mirrors?) could be a remarkable surprising intervention, i find the Uffizi roofing very poor. It looks like coming straight out of a cheap builders CAD machine … by that weakening the maybe nice idea to a caricature.

  • Serena Trab

    I’ve been living in Florence for 8 years: it’s a definitely marvellous city, but also definitely OLD; with this “old” I don’t mean ancient and historically precious (it is, indeed!), but I mean “non functional”, morbidly stuck in its past, locked in itself, distrustfull and opposed to every new input. In a simple word: unfriendly.

    Architecture discloses all of these features.

    The provocative meta-project of GGAF hits it on the nail.

  • b

    Super lame!

  • john

    lame

  • Q

    it seems very interesting, very florentine!

  • batty

    if u have never been to Florence yet. may b disappearing dome is not a good thing to do.I wanna see pure classic of florence architecture.

  • JdeP

    Any idiot can come up with a shocking/innovative scheme and then blame anyone who does not like it as too conservative and backward looking.

    Hey, let’s submerge the Vatican in custard! Or put a huge silver UFO on the White House. Blah blah blah; very clever.

  • Sam

    Very interesting…

  • Bingo

    OH NO,
    Please be more carful with such an great historic ensemble!!!!!

    Sure a nice Idea, to adapt a new kind of ponte vecchio, but….

    ….Hey its FLORENCE!!

    Don´t destroy t wich such stupid gags!

  • Marco

    Not good.

  • Gregory Ter-Arutyunov

    The disappearing dome installation is not unlike Christo’s wrapping of the Reichstag, in that, it is only temporary. Ofcourse this is not Berlin, it is Florence (which means it will never happen). The bridge proposal is weak modernist refuse. and the Galleria Uffizi glazed ceiling is just horrid, abysmal. Just pure garbage design. It seems Italians have lost their once-fantastic gift of design.

  • NND

    Bridge is OK, but the David Copperfield dome is an insult and an attrocity.

  • http://www.metrooffice.it Fabio Barluzzi

    ok I’m an architect I was born in Florence I live and I work here, and I think that Florence really needs modern buildings, but the superficiality of the buildings proposed is whitout any comments.

  • makiese

    Please! it´s Florence not Dubai…….

  • P

    One of the worst ideas in history!

  • Alexandre

    most of these comments express a new art architects are developing, and taking it well beyond any other profession could: the art of complaining about everything and being negative in the very first instant of reaction.
    the proposal is obviously shocking and does not even need to actually happen to drop its full load on us contemporary architects. The hard facts are that Florence has been stuck in time for a long while and, contrasting to its heritage, has not beeing welcoming of any change. That sayd, one could ask “which one of the following is the true HERITAGE of the city/region: innovation, invention, creation and development or several marvelous but really old buildings?” obviously Italian architects and artists have been asking themselves these questions for a long time, and are faced with an enormous decision that should not be made hastingly.
    I´d like to express my total support for these Young Architects, even though I do not agree with most of the design decisions shown.
    One other thing: trying to put the white house on the same level as the Duomo is architecturaly offensive. They do not sit on the same level, specially since the first one was not the most expressive mark of its time culture, construction technology and even social-economic relations. So chill out in the ufanistic approach.
    cheers

  • ameske

    i hope that it never gonna be built!

  • Melina Romano

    Those architects destroied the most amazing felling of Florence: old history and art. No more commets!

  • L.W.

    OK, from now on I’ll be designing architecture to ‘provoke debate…’
    I’ll suggest removing the clock faces from Big Ben, propose extensive landfill for poor soggy Venice, rebuilding Dubai over a Canadian oilfield, and submit a plan to decrease density in Tokyo…
    Photoshop is not the place to initiate “debate’

  • Xur

    I can’t agree with this proposals and think they’re terribly stupid.
    They’re are the opposite point of modern architecture. Not fresh, not really new, not trying to go on..
    1.- Imitating the Ponte Vechio in white and glazed surfaces. Who would LeCorbusier be if he decided to copy one old building instead of imagine the Villa Saboya?
    2.- Converting the Uffizi Galery in a Shopping Mall Structure, what happened with the perspetives of the Palazio Vechio’s tower?
    3.- Returning the pre-Brunelleschi Florence, is that going on? or going back?
    Please, new proposal should be really original to start the discussion.

  • Edgard A.

    Absurdo!! To change the charm of the Ponte Veccio for that (no offense, really) distasteful design, why? That is one of the chars of that fantastic city. Is like changing the Eiffel Tower for a 25-floor modern building. What a shame. Oh yes, I am for modern, but think a minute… lets not just change things because we are bored. I hope Tuscan people will opposed to it. The project is ugly, sorry.

  • atelier artichaud

    Horrible!
    A parte, interrumpe la perspectiva visual y rompe el conjunto con el Ponte Vecchio……..

  • eliana braga

    My God!!!! Leave the Vecchio Bridge alone! Do you want to build another bridge, is that the point? Do it in glass and mirror reflecting the old Vecchio Bridge that you’ll be more sucessfull and fill it with wonderfull books and cafés. We will apreciate.
    But don’t mess with Firenze.

  • laura

    crisis affects italian professionals. Too little work, too spare time…

  • Philip

    Exceptional hope to see them made!

  • eva parigi

    Well…I’m an architect leaving and working in Florence. I feel somehow embarassed, and this is why: please note that a good amount of collegues is fighting everyday and every moment of the day in this unfriendly city to affirm an upcoming attention towards THE contemporary. Moreover, a kind of 40 years ago, it was HERE that young international architects came to get acquainted upon the avant-garde state of the art. So, please be everyone of us very careful to feature these “boutades”, really superficial and, this is my personal opinion, only fishing for compliments.

  • Betty Abadia

    The point of visiting Firenze is an homage to the Renaissance, not to the future. Look to other cities for the future; but not even in jest should this elegant testament to that flowering of art & humanism be disparaged.

  • Cinzia

    Bla bla bla…The point here is that not only nobody here seems to understand the provocation, but also it seems to be no attempt to do so…None of these young architests has never thought I guess to transform in a sort of Harry Potter and make the cathedral disappear…So what’s the problem? We are discussing about ideas, “provocations”….How can Florence awake if the result is this one?
    Anyway we are having a debate and this is already a good result, nor an attempt to “…fishing compliments…” as someone wrote. Good job boys….

  • http://www.noticiasdearquitectura.blogspot.com Noticias de Arquitectura

    Great great concept for that place.

    Congratulations for your work !!!

  • michael ho

    i adore their innovation and creativity and courage and whatsoever, but i will kill myself if this proposal was approved, i prefer a colourful rainbow cross over the river to this ‘inhabitated bridge’…could people living there poop and pee into the river??? F me!!!!!!

  • Kat

    Don’t touch Florence!!

  • sabine

    The Intentions are good, but the outcome is a new form of a catastrophe … replacing a dome with a glass ceiling won't get the library going…