12.6.2017

Garden of Memory

The project comes from the will to give new life and importance to an area that has been a scene of a dramatic event in the history of our country.

The aim is to transform the location in which many lives were brutally taken into a requalifying symbol of renaissance able to pass down a specific function: the one of eternal memory and celebration of the heroes that sadly died that day.

The key points of the project are:
• The redevelopment of the green area
• The itinerary route
• The integration areas
• The exhibit and contemplation areas

The garden, planned according to an allegorical intent, features several green areas and sitting areas with benches, which are connected to one another by a wooden catwalk that represents the essence of the project: the wooden catwalk has been designed according to the forms of a fragmentated line which recalls the highway route  taken by the cars involved in the Strage di Capaci accident of 23 May 1992.

During the walk which resembles almost a symbolic route of legality, there are wooden portals (15 in 4 blocks to revoke the name “Quarto Savona Quindici” – codename of the police protection) that shimmer throughout the day defining the blind spots of the green area.  The wooden portals and the fencing are all elements that aim to underline not only the changing of time in a dynamic and continuous movement that regenerates itself every day with the crack of dawn but also the idea of life through movement.

At the end of the walking route, the wooden catwalk leads to an area which opens up just as a delta river, almost resembling a village square. This area features a set of large steps on which benches have been positioned to create the effect of a theatrical setting that is highlighted thanks to the background landscape which seems to be a fifth stage. We chose to engrave on the ground the names of the fallen of 23rd May 1992 to impress an indelible memory.

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This area is suitable for every type of event or exhibition including the chance of setting up a stage. From this space you access the most concealed part of the garden. Among the thick vegetation you reach a glass display case which will host, on certain occasions, the remains of one of the police cars exploded in 1992.

The glass display case is protected by a pavilion open on both sides that comes with a canopy with a clearly visible structure that leans towards the external. This area is also a suitable setting for events or temporary exhibitions.

The rest areas in the park have been intentionally designed in gray cement with white stripes to evoke a spider’s web that on one hand aims to represent the disintegration of the motorway after the explosion, on the other  hand the tangled and complex story of mafia, which is just like a cobweb.

The preexisting trees and plants present in the area have been kept and the flooring has been carefully planned so that none of the plants and trees had to be moved or uprooted.

In some parts of the park, you can notice how the steps have been built around the trees.

SYMBOLISM
At this stage all the symbolic elements of the garden are recognisable:
• The landscape and its vegetation, which all Sicilians have in common.
• The plot of the mafia’s history with its cobweb thread (in cement to emphasize the  point break and the pathos) that represents the appalling massacre of 23rd May 1992.  The garden has in all 15 sitting areas custom-designed according to the garden.
• The wooden catwalk that runs throughout the park with a sudden intersection and an overlie over the gray concrete aims to symbolize a course of rebirth and hope that strongly wants to impose on a past of violence and criminality.
• Halfway through the wooden catwalk The wooden portals representing the police protection Quarto Savona Quindici seem to transmit a sense of coverage and protection emphasizing at the same time the shadow effects and creating a sort of rupture with the rest of the garden.
• The cor-ten steel fencing with its pointy shapes and forms makes shadows on the ground whilst protecting the garden from car access and allowing access to visitors.
• The theatre-like contemplation area, reachable after the walk on the wooden catwalk opens up in a perspectival cone in front of which you have the glass pavilion, and many benches to allow visitors to sit down and observe the surrounding landscape and the white hut with the sign “No mafia” where the triggering of the explosion began.
• The glass and steel pavilion surrounded in the greenery of the garden hosts the remains of one of the cars involved in the explosion. The pavilion has been especially designed in a bare and essential style  and is visible from all parts of the garden in order to underline the bittersweet need to remember the atrociousness of the massacre and the necessity to keep the memory of that day alive. The structure can also be used to host photography exhibitions and to give shelter from the rain.

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Once you discover the symbolism behind project that has been carried, the visitor is wontedly exposed to different emotional stages: distress and anger for the human brutality; deep respect for the ideals of the men who sacrificed their lives; the hurt in seeing the remains of the car, visible sign of suffering and sacrifice; the peace of nature that at the end of it all always finds a way to come back to life.

The planning of such an important location that had been ignored for 25 years aims to be a sign of respect for the place itself and for all those people that have lost their life here, but at the same time also a moment of renewed optimism, a sort of heritage for the next generations so that they can have knowledge of this fierce and ruthless moment in history and draw inspiration from the heroes of that day.

Last but not least, the goal of the work was to redevelop an area neglected and unkempt for many years, offering  a new  public space to citizens and heightening  to a symbol of rebirth a location notorious for being the location of a tragedy.

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