2. a treasure island

With Diploma Petzet 

Revitalisation of the Punto Franco in Chiasso, with the introduction of new programs whose aim is to enhance its strategic position and architectural quality.

            The site is located at Punto Franco, in Chiasso. Its character of freeport strictly connected it whit the concept of border both programmatically and physically through the evident trace of the railway system. Due to the growth of DDA storages, the uniqueness of Punto Franco is unstable, opening questions about its next future. Maintaining some of the existing activities, the project aim to give value to those ones by introducing new functions to the site, enhancing its particular character of collector point for valuable objects and its strategic position. The new activity introduced are a textile research center, contextual to the commitment of Ticino region for the sector; a restaurant on the tower’s top floor, offices and an exhibition space, which will be placed in the Maillart’s building and will expose whatever it is produced, researched or stored in the island. The architectonic intervention can be summed up in three main action: accesses, greenhouses and labs. Two new accesses are implemented: the first a walkway which directly link Via Interlenghi’s bridge to the tower and the second an underground passage that connects the island’s train stop to the tower. The tower will act so as the main pedestrian entrance to the site. Greenhouses form the basis of the research process: there are grown the flower necessary for the pigment extraction. Below the greenhouses, the existing building is used mainly for custom deposit. The labs building will host the more technological function (dyeing machinery and chemical labs), offices and a common cantine for the workers of the island. Except for the Maillart building, all the spaces not mentioned are used as custom storages. The language used to give uniformity to the intervention derives from the structural study of Maillart canopy. A prefab pillar which follows the same structural system is so adapted to the various situations. In the end, the project has the objective of making an outsider experience of these often inaccessible but so fascinating works, coming into direct visual contact with them. The particular circulation system allows to observe people at work without disturbing thus putting the observer on the same level as the worker.