Among the first ideas concerning the reuse of the Rinalda tower, there was the necessity to implement the seaside landscape with some eye-catching architecture, aiming to develop the model to the other ancient towers along the Apulian coast, in order to build a network of functions and activities that may evolve over time.
This architectural graft is supposed to become a landmark, a point of interest to attract people from the surrounding towns as well as international tourists. At the same time, the old tower, together with the new addition, should regain utility to serve the community, so that it can concretely be involved in the town activities.
Observing the tower as it is today, it is possible to notice two main themes: the tower used to have defensive function and this feature influenced its facades and orientation in the space, and finally nowadays the tower looks like a ruin that can be seen as something to preserve and admire in a conservative way, without any interaction, or as something to renew and to modify in order to current needs, taking all the risks but trying to put a decommissioned architecture back into life.
The tower was built in limestone, using the bearing walls as the technology of that time, and it has very few and small openings, due to the necessity to observe the sea and at the same time protect people inside. As we see it today, the top of the tower has collapsed so that the internal divisions are visible from above and some natural elements took part in the spaces, as flowers and grass.
In order to preserve the new ecosystem of the tower, and to respect its evolution, the addition is supposed to be suspended one meter above, so that the floor of the new spaces can’t touch the ancient limestone. Talking about the aesthetics, the vertical structure is completely coated with mirrored sheet metal, from recycled sources, in order to preserve the landscape and to reduce the interference between the old tower shape and the new cube placed on top of it. In this way, the access to the tower from the bottom will look almost as untouched and also the interior look will be preserved thanks to the mirror effect that can make the pylon disappear.
The upper cube is a public space, enclosed by curtain walls, that can host art exhibitions, talks, shows and several activities such as school workshops, etc.
From the cube it is also possible to go out onto a jetty, also built in steel, which allows you to walk on the surface of the water up to a new observation point of the tower and the entire coast. While the tower, due to its defensive function, was closed off from the sea and the surrounding landscape, the jetty presents itself as a new opening, an invitation to foreigners who want to get to know this land. The idea is that the hospitality, typical of the Apulian population, will also be able to find expression through this architectural element.
Another smaller observation point is the entrance balcony, accessible directly from the top level of the ancient tower, that gives a tiny point of view to the beach. This element is supposed to be a medium level to observe either inside the tower and outside, aiming to motivate people to walk through the spaces of the old building.
The jetty, as other steel elements like the entrance balcony and the service entrance, is yellow coloured. This colour, typical of the region as similar to the ripe grain, the sand, the daffodils and other natural and anthropological elements, should characterise this intervention.
Talking about the public function, it is necessary to provide the architecture almost of the minimum services, according to the usage forecast. In order to respond to this need, the project provides for another addition of an external element to the tower, a small mirroring cube that contains toilets, spaces for janitors’ tools and a closet for chairs and other things useful for the public function of the spaces. The mirror effect is the strength of this small service building, in fact thanks to this aesthetic it can disappear without affecting the predominant aspect of the ancient tower and protect the existing landscape at human eye level.https://www.sp-a.xyz/portfolio/torre-rinaldahttps://www.sp-a.xyz/portfolio/torre-rinalda
Serena Rubino, Giulia Coppola, Simone Paganelli