Cavallerizza, cultural district



The work on the Cavallerizza was born from the will to involve the citizenship in a process of participated planning, aimed at the creation of a community land trust. By means of intense dialogue with the administration and the various stakeholders, the study transformed into a Masterplan that examines the issues and opportunities of the requalification, valorisation and conservation of the complex, toward a possible cultural district in the centre of Turin.

Acknowledging what happened.

The fire at the Royal Theatre in 1936 and the bombings in 1943-44 have started the process of destructuration of the once-unitary complex of the Cavallerizza Reale, defined by the interventions by Castellamonte and Alfieri to constitute the “Command Zone” of the Sabaudian Turin. With the transfer to Modena, in 1947, of the Military Academy, the complex loses its unitary function.

Since that moment, the complex that the Turinese call – with an effective synecdoche – “The Cavallerizza” begins to be treated as a “container” for the most heterogeneous functions, of varying quality – for avant-garde culture to abandonment – and as a compendium of surfaces to be valorised.

The building of the new Royal Theatre by Mollino (1973), the use of Alfieri’s Cavallerizza as a performance space (2009) and the new great hall of the University (2014) are commendable counter-trend episodes, but they do not resolve the complex as a whole.

Recognising what is at stake.

The Masterplan goes back to discussing and designing the area between Piazza Castello, Via Po, Corso San Maurizio and Via Rossini as an organic, continuous whole. In second place, it recognises that post-war uses – starting with Mollini’s Royal Theatre up to the activity promoted by the occupiers of the Assemblea Cavallerizza 14:45 – have consolidated a public, cultural vocation of the place, taking the Turinese back to benefiting of their Cavallerizza in a new way. Finally, it recognises that in the City’s collective awareness the Cavallerizza has acquired the value of a common asset and that such common dimension must be accepted and integrated in any future scenario of valorisation of the compound.

The project objectives: unitarity and coherence of spaces and uses, sustainability and feasibility of the solutions.

The Masterplan confronts in a unitary way the whole of the historic compound and of its perimeter of influence (between Piazza Castello, Via Po, Corso San Maurizio and Via Rossini) and defines the layout of its open and enclosed spaces, of the pathways and accesses, of the green and the built, of uses and functions – especially on the level which the public city lives on, the level of the ground we cover and of the covered spaces we enjoy ni common form (colonnades, cafés, theatres, exhibition spots, shops, laboratories, stores…)

It defines the function of the individual buildings, independently of their property regime, based on the coherence and respect of their typological and morphological system; furthermore, it resolves the issues arisen from the past property and management fragmentation, defining unitary intervention rules at the scale of urban planning.

The intervention modalities: restrictions and opportunities

In order to to fulfil the objectives listed above, the Masterplan proceeds to defining the restrictions that shall be respected during the transformation, so as to deliver to the implementation an organic set of disposition to the tutelage of the asset, that allow the different subject to operate independently, but with a common methodology, and to provide since the very first design phase for solutions that area feasible, yet coherent with the need to safeguard the common assets.

The intervention principle: public land, private buildings.

The Masterplan guarantees by means of specific law dispositions the perpetual and permanent public function of all of the open and covered or enclosed ground floor spaces, independently of their property regime.

This ruling principle privileges the regulation of the right of use rather than the right of property. It is rooted in the urban history and the civic tradition of European cities, and technically it inspires to the Anglo-Saxon jurisdiction of the bundles of rights, that – such as for the common assets used, for example, in the form of community land trusts – can be interpreted here in an original and befitting manner, to the safeguard of the fruition of the compound in time by the citizenship.

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