Returning spaces that are abandoned or in disuse to the collective, giving a new life to areas that in the past had been important economic centers for a city or a region, carrying out projects that open opportunities for investments and new initiatives. The recovery of formerly industrial areas is a challenge that meets these three objectives, and is a demanding test of the ability to plan and see through ambitious interventions.

Tuscany provides three different examples of requalification [redevelopment], two of which carried out by small towns (Colle Val d’Elsa and Follonica), whereas the third will rise in the heart of Pisa, and will be dedicated to one of history’s greatest scientists: Galileo Galilei. All three projects utilized the same tool, the Integrated Plans for Sustainable Urban Development (PIUSS, Piani integranti di Sviluppo Sostenibile Urbano): the formula through which the Region of Tuscany consented to the launch public-private initiatives for [improving] urban and environmental quality, with the support of EU, national, and regional funding.

In the area that used to host the public slaughterhouse in Pisa, in a prestigious area of the city close to the medieval walls and less than one kilometer from the Leaning Tower, the Galilean city is being born. The project, developed on a comprehensive 18,700 square meters (of which 12,000 of gross usable surface) comprises six structures that integrate offers of a cultural nature centered around the National Museum of Measurement Devices [Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti per il Calcolo] and spaces dedicated to research and business, with business incubators and university laboratories. A revival in the name of science and business that the Municipality of Pisa [Comune di Pisa] does not intend to sell, once the area has been redeveloped, but to lease to an entity capable of managing the entire complex.
French superstar architect Jean Novel signs the redevelopment of the former crystal and glass factor known as “La Fabbrichina” [‘The Little Factory”] in Colle Val d’Elsa – a small town of 20,000 people that, alongside other towns such as Poggibonsi and San Gimignano characterizes the Northern Val d’Elsa [Alta Val d’Elsa] – and which is an industrially reknown center for crystals and for businesses that produce caravans [travel trailers]. The project, approximately 100 meters from the heart of the town, began in 2007 with the area’s recovery and revolves around a 1,500 square meter traditional and multimedia library, flanked by a supermarket and commercial spaces immersed in a neighborhood characterized by pedestrian squares and green spaces. Nearby the Fabbrichina, the architect himself coordinated the works of four contemporary artists (Lewis Baltz, Daniel Buren, Bertrand Lavier and Alessandra Tesi) who collaborated in the recovery of Piazza Arnolfo, integrating the needs to turn it into a space for social gatherings and cultural offerings.
The two complexes that belonged to an ancient Fonderia Granducale [Foundry of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany], originated in the sixteenth century and then broadened three centuries later, are the object of a broad intervention being carried out by the Municipality of Follonica [Comune di Follonica], a Tyrrhenian city in the province of Grosseto. Foundry 1 will host expositions and trade shows, with spaces organized so as to be flexible and modifiable by the users, but will also contain ample free naves to preserve the perception of the building’s original use. The structure’s various wings will include free spaces for community organizations [and events], such as Follonica’s traditional carnival; a tourism office; and rooms for lectures and conferences. Foundry 2 key spaces will instead be a 416-seat theater and a 270 square meter multi-purpose room, accompanied by foyer, bar, restaurant, and changing rooms to serve the theater. 

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