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Torre Museo delle Acque – Thesis Project

  • Name Project
    Torre Museo delle Acque
  • Status
  • Designer
    Marcello Cesini Architetto | Arch. Lucia Bergianti | Arch. Antonio Giulio Loforese
  • Category
  • Place
    Colorno (PR)
  • Year

The majestic Colorno Water Tower has been lying, for decades now, in a very serious state of abandonment as has the entire surrounding area, once an important production center that knew how to expertly exploit the current of the waterways that surround it. The important socio-cultural, architectural and engineering value and its particular beauty make the ancient artefact unique in its kind and the spectator is immediately enchanted by it, unable to explain what secrets it holds. He appears reserved, exclusive and even if everyone knows him, few can enjoy his experience. Resisting and giving up its charm is unthinkable, making the curiosity it provokes in the viewer unbearable, turning to it with respect and devotion. Reclaiming the Water Tower and its places thus becomes a moral necessity, imbued with awareness and the desire for knowledge. The passerby needs to know, the child wants to know. Observing the imposing fa├žades from bottom to top, marked by the signs of time, in their slow and flat flow of bricks, interrupted only by light stringcourse frames, allows us only to imagine the unreal atmosphere of the interior, in which the light enters I struggle in the narrow spaces and it is a continuous and deceptive play of light and shadow. A narrow and precarious staircase leads to teetering undulating attics and on each floor there is a first blue room and a second next to it with a large fireplace in the center, where the visitor would never have suspected it. The windows are placed on the ground or just above the feet of the incredulous spectator and allow a glimpse of the Galasso and Lorno waterways. A pointed vault of great height, first blue and then pink, fascinates and confuses, changing perceptions and distorting proportions; the ramps to climb to the top become three and a strong light illuminates at times the path, previously illuminated only by slits, which leads to the top floor where broken floors and walled up windows only allow one to perceive what was once a stupendous loggia, in which immerse yourself in a bath of light. There is no longer any trace of the ancient mechanisms that raised the water but there are still signs and holes on the walls where the gears were fitted. You can visually perceive the non-homogeneity of the structures and the old material mixed with the new; shabby wooden attics are embedded in the massive masonry, the original large spaces are now small rooms divided by thin and damaged partitions, the staircase in its succession of ramps is supported badly on unstable wooden beams surmounted by ruined terracotta tiles, the stupendous trusses now support the shreds of the collapsed roof. However, a new structure could envelop the beauty of the ancient place, reinterpreting the course of time, making it not an empty museum of itself but filling it with the noble value of knowledge. A path in steel and glass, of ramps and attics, would leave the walls intact with its colored plaster and would evoke the sign of time, the sign dictated by the conversion into a residence. The light would return to enter through the walled windows and each room would have its original breath, which is now muffled by the thin partitions. The water would rise in new pipes, moved by pistons, activated by new wheels, in keeping with its ancient function, until it was conducted into a large basin on the top floor, permeated with light as if it were a loggia.

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