Variation of modes of use: functions, users, schedules, etc.

Relationship between the ownership and the form of the investment that allows the transformation

Variation of the overall dimensions of the building

Proportional relationship between new spaces and existing spaces

Relationship between the structural adjustments and the existing structure

Relationship between the forms and types of pre-existing materials and those of the new intervention

Relationship between the image of the new and the image of the existing (mimesis / contrast)


Augusta. Provincia di Siracusa. Italy


Nikos Ktenàs. Athens Greece Simona de Giuli. Lugano. Switzerland Marco Bovati. Milan. Italy



Nikos Ktenàs, Simona de Giuli, Marco Bovati – Re_power Station and the territory of Augusta

PROJECT - Main Infos

PROJECT: Nikos Ktenàs, Simona de Giuli, Marco Bovati – Re_power Station and the territory of Augusta

LOCATION: Augusta. Provincia di Siracusa. Italy

YEAR: 2015

ARCHITECT / FIRM: Nikos Ktenàs. Athens Greece Simona de Giuli. Lugano. Switzerland Marco Bovati. Milan. Italy

BUYER: University of Palermo. Department of Architecture. ENEL

SURFACE: 150.000 sqm

PRICE: € Unknown

Augusta, like every place, has its own nature and history. And it is precisely these singular characteristics that suggest, through a plurality of implications, the design strategy. In order to select and interpret these components it is necessary to question the place through an investigation that is built on two different degrees of investigation: the first part from far away and analyzes the territory in its entirety, the second studies more carefully the character of the site, which allows you to initiate new writings in critical continuity with the existing. The project then becomes a "microcosm" capable of revealing the heritage and decoding the genetics of the place, but this can only be achieved through the provocation of geography, enunciating different proclamations from those already existing because imitating the form you can only reach the destruction of the geography itself. The project proposal accepted the indication of the call, which called for a new function to be given to the thermoelectric power plant. Acting only on the power plant, however, would not have been enough to solve the critical issues of the territory and to establish a necessary dialogue, and at the moment absent, with the city of Augusta. Widening the view of the territory is therefore a strategy that aims to build and deliver added value to the existing landscape. Through a great territorial sign we want to contribute to a double purpose: to determine a relationship with the historical memory of the place and find a measure for its geography.

WHAT - Program

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The new program is in balance with the existing one.

THE LINEAR MUSEUM The new infrastructure, a sort of linear museum located between the land and the sea, penetrates seamlessly into the forgotten interstices of the territory of Augusta, building an ordering system that will impose itself on the disorder of the industrial area: its intent is to give to those who cross it a new perception alienated from the mere functional end, and to those who observe it from afar a métron able to reveal the morphology of the landscape, limit and border the structure traces the new edge of the sea and at the same time generates an urban matrix capable of initiating a dialectic between the memory of the place and the geography of the territory. The walk extends from the Mulinello park to the thermoelectric power station without any change in altitude, connecting, with a single gesture, the commercial port, the Hangar airship park, the salt pans, the industrial city and the archaeological site of Megara Hyblaea. The reinforced concrete structure houses a long pedestrian path affiancato from a cycle path and a lane for shuttle buses and emergency vehicles. A fine succession of luminous totems add a further spectacle to the already evocative night landscape of the industrial area. The beginning of the route is revealed to the north by a tower-hotel that relates, beyond the bay of the port of Megarese, with the bulk of the Swabian castle, from the hotel tower a bridge over the stream Mulinello and connects to the commercial port and the State Road 114. An intermediate station at Punta Cugno connects the promenade to the Syracuse-Catania railway line; beyond the station, the route crosses the entire industrial area of Contrada Marcelino, enriching itself with cultural and landscape events: at the height of the thermoelectric power station, what were once the tanks for the works of taking the sea become an aquarium that collects marine life, in order to counteract the possible extinction; the path ends at the power station in a new parking area for visitors equipped with refreshment points, at the southern edge a walkway suspended over the stream Cantera allows direct access to the archaeological site of Megara Hyblaea.

WHO - Financing

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: Balanced financing between the original owner and another investor.

University of Palermo. ENEL

HOW MUCH - Absolute Dimensions


BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The overall dimensions are about twice the pre-existing surface.


TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The overall dimensions are equal to the pre-existing volume.

THE THERMOELECTRIC POWER PLANT In the first instance, the project chooses not to forget the vocation of the Thermoelectric Power Station to be a point of emission of energy: if in the past the territory was powered by flussi generated by the turbines, in the present will be the continuous movements of visitors to play this role, who will live in places not passively subject to the simple contemplation of events, but in an active way as delegated to be the protagonists. The recovery of the power station intends to propose the overcoming of the dilemma of the contemporary museum, disputed between being a place of interpretation or a place of experience, and which here is thought of in the second sense. To achieve this goal, the area is emptied of all the elements that disfigure the tectonics of the structures, bringing them back to their original essentiality; inside, only the machines are left to bear witness to the productive past. In the design hypothesis, the redefinition of spaces allows visitors to orient themselves easily, they create a continuous flow between the inside and the outside giving rise to an aesthetic fact that changes the nature of the artifacts which are no longer mere containers but, as for the museum of the London power plant of Herzog and de Meuron, become "events", because they are revealed to visitors as heterotopic places capable of reversing the relationship that they designate, as mirrors that open new realities on the reflected spaces. The various events that alternate in the area of the Thermoelectric Power Station tell the story of the territory, but the intention is not to give in to nostalgia for the past, but rather to start new stories to project the power station and the territory towards a new future, the same educational role is played by the Hangar airships, north of the linear museum, in which you can set up training workshops. As in the case of the hotel-tower area, the access to the motorway has also been redesigned to the south of the linear museum; a car park to the east of the entrance to the exhibition centre houses tourist coaches, a taxi station is located near the entrance, while private vehicles can enter directly into the power station and stop near the entrances to the archaeological area and the linear museum. The transformer's officina becomes a caffetteria /bookshop, while the administrative uffici can be found in the old officine; a large number of buildings also host residences and laboratories for researchers. Finally, the substation area is conceived as an open-air museum with an exhibition of production machines interpreted as works of art.

HOW MUCH - Relative Dimensions

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The new spaces are in balance with respect to the pre- existing spaces.

CITY MEMORIES Critical continuity and design discontinuity. The terms project and history speak of a complex relationship that has its roots in the architectural culture of the last 60 years and in the contribution given to this by the important debate that has developed in Italy since the post-war period. The completely original way in which, since then, the architectural project has "used" the elements of reflection that come from the history of contexts, is second only to the very close relationship that this has with the geography and morphology of the place. This way is implemented through an approach that makes the theme of critical continuity, in the idea of continuity formulated by Ernesto N. Rogers and taken up by Vittorio Gregotti, a tool to create a close dialectic, on the one hand between new and existing, and on the other between landscape and design, according to a double level of interaction that allows the interaction of the elements of anthropic space with geographical, climatic and natural elements. This also admits the possibility of a discontinuity, or continuity a posteriori, according to the well-known formulation of Franco Purini (F. Purini, "Tra parte e frammento", in: http://www.francopurinididarch.it/), where the new is presented as an element capable of determining, in the territory, a reaction to change that generates a process of overall redefinition aimed at finding a new balance. In this sense, the city and the landscape are intentionally interpreted by the proposal in their generative dynamics, with attention to the processes underway and with even greater care towards the possible outcomes of the changes, in terms of territorial and environmental rebalancing.

HOW - Design Strategy STRUCTURE

TOTAL CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The original supporting structure is fully preserved and there are no new structures.

Geography and history are therefore the cornerstones that orient the project proposal, characterize it, and constitute themselves as terms of critical comparison between a given condition and a hypothesis of transformation. Infrastructure and measurement. Since 2001, Luigi Snozzi has been measuring himself with the proposal for Delta Metropool, the new metropolis of Holland, with a project called "Metro Polis". On that occasion, the Ticino architect proposed an infrastructural ring that had the double role of measuring and preserving the great central void, the "green heart" of the Netherlands, and reconnecting the system of cities ranging from Amsterdam to Delft, Rotterdam, Utrecht, etc., with an infrastructural element capable of presenting itself as an element of identity and direction for the development of future urban settlements and for the completion of existing ones. Snozzi's project, as clear as it is visionary, poses some crucial questions to the design of contemporary inhabited landscapes, still valid more than ten years later, which this proposal assumes and reinterprets according to the specific characteristics of Augsburg and its territory. First of all, the theme of the large scale, read and interpreted through a territorial sign able to reconnect the emergencies that overlook the Gulf of Augusta from the Central Samona and the archaeological site of Megara Hyblaea, through the unfinished park of the river Mulinello, the necropolis of Contrada Cozzo del Monaco, the great environmental landscape heritage of the salt pans (threatened by the proximity of petrochemical sites), the Hangar Park airships, up to Augusta itself, a multitude of disjointed places, some of great quality others to be enhanced or even unfinished, which requires a system.

HOW - Design Strategy MATERIAL

BALANCE BETWEEN CONSERVATION AND REPLACEMENT: The materials chosen for the new intervention balance similarities and differences with the existing ones.

This sign becomes in fact a gesture that, thanks to its extension, measures the territory, which takes on contemporary forms and languages, albeit with the ambition to preserve the strength and scale of the ancient ones; as a territorial sign it also interprets the theme of perception and recognizability from the sea, as was already the case in another project by Samonà, that for the unfinished "Palazzata" of Messina, constituting a counterpoint to the horizon line.

HOW - Design Strategy IMAGE

PREVALENT CONSERVATION / CONTINUITY: The new intervention favors a relationship of continuity with the existing structures.

The presence of the sea and in particular of the Gulf of Augusta is then interpreted through the reading of the latter as a large central void, able to unite and give an identity to the system of places that overlook it. A sort of conceptual overturning of Kenzo Tange's project for Tokyo Bay: in that proposal to reconnect the parts, the central void was "occupied" with a complex infrastructure and urbanization; in this, it is kept free and strengthened through the redefinition of a front that is currently fragmented and close to important reconversion interventions, against which the project proposal intervenes as an element of reorganization and direction of the processes of redevelopment. The system of cross-references between the territorial fronts overlooking the great void of the gulf is underlined by the distance relationship between new and existing vertical emergencies: on the one hand the Swabian castle, on the other the hotel tower provided by the project.