The town square of Sonogno was a poorly defined space, the result of the successive demolition of three buildings and a modification in the road layout, with a badly maintained tarmac surface.
The square surface has been repaved with natural stone and the public area adjacent to the ancient Museum building has been reorganised by extending the plinth on which it stands towards the square. The plinth extends to meet the new “Museo delle antiche Gesta” (Museum of Ancient Gestures) and thus creates a series of steps that link the square and the space between the two buildings of the museum complex. The project also includes the placing of a number of granite blocks (seats) in a “brushed” finish around the rest of the square’s perimeter. The re-design of the square focused on the following themes:
Paving and reorganisation of the square surface. The tarmac was removed and replaced with paving in natural stones sourced from the Ticino region (granite setts from Iragna, vertically laid granite slabs from Onsernone and Iragna, small granite setts from Lodrino, red stone blocks specially quarried from the Verzasca river). The stones are laid in a pattern that defines a new centre and connects the main elements within the square. The use of stones in three different colours is intended to integrate the new design within its context, echoing the colour of the stones of the existing historical buildings.The paving pattern consists of two concentric circles. The larger circle (17.50 m diameter) connects the main elements of the square: the new stepped plinth of the Museum, the craft shop elevation and the seating that encloses the green space under the fir tree. The larger circle adapts and integrates the layout pattern of the road surface. The smaller circle has a diameter of 5.80 m, equivalent to the space between the two museum buildings, and is entirely paved in natural red-coloured stone (12x12 cm setts) specially quarried from the river Verzasca. Dark grey and light grey 5x45 cm granite slabs are laid vertically, alternating in an radial pattern to form the circumferences of the circles. The rest of the piazza is paved in light grey granite (12x14 cm blocks of variable length) like the streets of the town centre. The perimeter of the square is marked by 50 cm wide light grey granite slabs. Street furniture. Before the project was completed there was no public seating in the square. The existing plinth outside the Museum has been extended along the side of the square to form a new stepped granite plinth that links the two buildings that form the new museum complex (the existing ‘Val Verzasca Museum’ and the new ‘Museum of Ancient Gestures’) to the square.
The ancient, large, flat corner stone (pioda) has been retained and relocated to mark the junction between the old and the new section of the plinth. New granite seating has also been laid along the perimeter of the square. A small structure designed to hold a waste paper bin has been constructed with the same materials used for paving the square. Lighting. The project envisages the uniform illumination of the square from a single central light source suspended from a steel cable. New street lights have also been installed near the road.
Enrico Sassi (1965) architect. Is in professional practice and teaches architecture. Coordinator of “Laboratorio Ticino” USI Academy of architecture of Mendrisio where he has been teacher of “Urban design”. Since 1998 he has been an editor of “archi”, a magazine of architecture and urban planning. He has an architectural practice in Lugano.