Ex Frigorifero Militare

Cultural center
Cuneo, Italy
Competition entry

Floor plan – Level -1 – Basement: Parking

Floor plan – Level 0 – Ground floor: Entrance, Workshop rooms, coffeeshop

Floor plan – Level 1 – Mezzanine floor: Bookshop, Administration area, Exhibition area

Floor plan – Level 2 – Exhibition area

Floor plan – Level 3 – Rooftop: terrace, open-air arena

Cultural center

The architectural concept for the renovation of the building called the former Military Refrigerator is based on a clear distinction between new and existing.

The project is based on the renovation of the current building, with the exception of the trapezoidal portion located on Corso Kennedy. The demolition of the small volume in fact makes the arches behind visible again, restoring the architectural continuity of the different elevations. The connotation for military use of the building has imposed over the years a closure towards the city; Its rebirth, characterized by a strong vocation for public use, requires a reopening to the outside, through the demolition of the current lower infills of all the arches, with the aim of keeping the original architectural design intact.

A new contemporary volume cladded by a natural stone facade will surmount the old building. The shape creates a dynamic effect developed as a consequence of the vertical limits imposed by the context: the 10m height on Via Manfredi di Luserna and the eaves line of the former Leutrum barracks.

The main entrance is located at the three arches on Via Sette Assedi near Corso Kennedy. Crossing the threshold, the visitor enters in a large double-height atrium punctuated by the recovered cast iron columns already present inside the existing building, and surmounted by a platform containing the bookshop. Inside the space there are the reception desk for information, the coffeeshop located aligned to the entrance. The remaining part in the back of the atrium is dedicated for service areas such as kitchen and pantry for the coffeshop.

The Hall leads directly to the vertical connective, a block placed in a barycentric position and formed by a stairwell and elevator, which connects the floors of the entire building. Through a long corridor punctuated by arches you enter the various classrooms and laboratories overlooking the quieter and more private inner courtyard, reminiscent of the traditional Cuneo arcades.

On the first floor, on the long sleeve, there is the double-height exhibition hall. The transition from the old to the new is legible through the overlapping of the materials of the new volume in contrast with the existing ones: stones and bricks on the existing walls and white for what is the new built.

On the second floor, at the corner sleeve is located the multipurpose room with 150 seats, whose shape adapts to a flexible use for multiple activities (concerts, shows, cinema or other events). In addition, inside there is a staircase obtained from the difference in height generated by the fold of the new volume on Corso Kennedy.

The resulting space derived from the observance of urban limits on distances from the boundaries, thus becomes a terrace connected with the multipurpose room and starting point for the ramps connecting to the green roof. This space is configured as an elevated urban square, with steps and seats that can be used for outdoor events, as well as a panoramic point where visitors can enjoy a privileged view of the city and the valley below.