The facades along the Cassaro in Palermo: historical-building characterization, degradation, restoration norms for intervention

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Giovanni Fatta, Tiziana Campisi, Mario Li Castri, Calogero VinciUniversità degli Studi di PalermoDipartimento di Progetto e Costruzione Edilizia (DPCE)§ viale delle Scienze, 90128 PALERMOThe façades along the Cassaro in Palermo: historical-buildingcharacterization, degradation, restoration, norms for intervention.AbstractIn the last decade some local communities, by urban plans and codes of practice, sensitized planners andoperators about the necessity to intervene on historical buildings considering the environmental typicalness,recognizable in use of materials, constructive techniques and lexical schemes: it is in an evident dialecticwith the Italian academy, strongly reluctant to accept that historical architecture in our cities has to besafeguarded, preserved, repaired, restored, rather study-cases for capricious experimentations.The city of Palermo is an efficacious example, with its historical centre regulated by an Executive ParticularPlan (PPE) that privileges the history and the maintenance of historical building, according to trends thatallow also the historical urban tissue reconstruction damaged or cancelled by tragic events.The study recently commissioned by the civic administration follows this idea, and it regards an urbancontext of great interest and complexity because of its historical-architectural characters: the Cassaromonumental street (today called Corso Vittorio Emanuele).By the sides of this city foundation axis, the actual form of architectural fronts overlaps a complexstratification; the heterogeneity of architectural styles and constructive systems, using often plaster andstucco rather than stone, catches a glimpse of the inextricable formation and evolution of its actualarchitecture behind every degraded area. We could so punctually recognize medieval urban tissue like inadjacent parts, the rectifications of alignment and the sixteenth-century aggregations, the monumental replanningof some eighteenth-century façades; and also the earthquakes and war events damages, thenineteenth-century completions and interventions with hygiene and decorum intents, especially after theUnity of Italy, when Palermo had to appear like the other cities of the new State. All this conditions had tocoexist in a difficult city, where decorum of monumental architectures has been often subdued to comfortand to commerce demands, to the fragmentariness provoked by nobility decadence, to the aggressive anddisfigured installations.The study of architectural fronts analyzes about sixty civil buildings along the Vittorio Emanuele main street,and it’s initially founded on a cognitive process that includes historical analysis, geometric and dimensionalsurvey, analysis of material and decay systems. We particularly analyzed both the relationships amongdecay systems and historical stratifications, both the grammar of architectural façades language.In a second phase, this study includes a project proposal that, according to the individuality of cases, itwould assume the sense of an intervention code about some recurrent critical aspects on which it’s possibleto intervene only applying codified procedures. The proposed designs represent so an application toconcrete cases, not abdicating to involve physical and economic urban environment: as example we citethe complexity of those solutions that would respect the historical image of building without depressing thecommercial demands of ground floor shops.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)231-286
Numero di pagine52
RivistaConservation Science in Cultural Heritage
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2009


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