"The Living Museum" | Orani | October 2018
"Ghost Stories: How to Rethink Urban Voids" Orani, a small city of 3,000 inhabitants, sits in the rugged interior of the island of Sardegna, about 30 km from Nuoro. The hilly region, known as the Barbagia, was once famous for its bandits. In previous times the local economy was sustained by talcum mines and leather, wood, and ceramic crafts, as well as the typical agricultural base of olives, grain, and wine. The artist Costantino Nivola was born here in 1911, but made his fame in New York during the 1950s as the “architect’s sculptor”. After his death in 1988, a foundation was established and a small museum dedicated to his work was established inside of the old washhouse, on the southern edge of Orani.
Since the museum’s opening in 1994, the initial architect Peter Chermayeff, completed an additional pavilion in 2001, known as the “Sandcast”, supplemented by a formal garden designed by Sebastiano Gaias in 2009 with winding paths, rills, and fountains. A competition in 2008 for a major addition to the Museo Nivola was won by Gianfranco Crisci, completed in 2012 and installed in 2013. A new installation of the collection was completed in 2016 under the direction of the Museum’s director Antonella Camarda and the President of the Nivola Foundation, Giuliana Altea.
In this fifth workshop organized by TerraViva Workshops, under the rubric "The Living Museum", and associated with the Politecnico di Milano, students will be engaged in researching and proposing solutions for urban, social, and landscape issues. The Nivola Museum sits in a spectacular natural site below the pilgrimage mountain of Monte Gonare. Aside from the gardens already installed, the museum owns over 20 hectares of land, some of it olive terraces, and one stone quarry area that forms a natural amphitheater. For a variety of reasons there is a historic rift between the city and the museum, even though most citizens identify with Nivola.
Over the past five years, TerraViva Workshops have worked on mobility issues, such as transportation to Orani, parking, pedestrian connections to the town, the access to the abandoned mines beyond Orani, and the value of a community gardens on the museum grounds. Tourism is another big theme. Each year there are an estimated 3 million tourists who come to Sardegna (the island only has 1.5 million permanent residents), but the majority are beach tourists. The interior is graced with spectacular unruined landscapes, and marvelous archeological sites with over 7000 Iron-age Neolithic Nuraghe towers.
Students will visit and analyze the local urban and natural landscapes, consider the urban and cultural functions of the land, theorize new connections considering factors of local identity, economic prospects, ecological concerns, tourism, museality, and urban agriculture. The final projects will be presented both at the museum in Orani and at the Politecnico in Milan.