In the south east of the Italian island of Sicily lies Vittoria, a busy little town that can trace its origins to the early 17th century. The regeneration of some of the public spaces in the oldest part can be explored through a conceptual lens, focusing on the use of geometry and materials. The abundance of right angles in the layout of the roads is a clear sign the town was born in the modern age and this imprint extends to more recently built areas. This continuity also forms one of the many layers of this design.
The connection between the open space of the square and the area looking panoramically out on the Ippari valley below is key to how the zone is organised, aligning perfectly with the orthogonal layout and even influencing the placement of the urban "furniture". Here, space is conceptualised to establish a two-way perception of the square and the viewpoint area. The urban shape follows the built environment, almost forming an interior area where the connections to the buildings are hinted at by the layout of the floor. This polarity - both an internal and outdoor space - is reinforced through the use of elements. The piazza, set amid houses, is a welcoming space where the views are enhanced by the opposition between limitation and the infinite, between closed geometrical lines and openness to the horizon. This duplicity is reciprocated by the actual square, achieving the intimacy of a house interior, complete with a backdrop of structures and colours, while maintaining views that draw the gaze out onto the landscape. The square is bordered by the long roads that help generate a sense of perspective and the use of almost sculpted elements, coloured geometrical shapes and the patterns of the floor add dynamism.
The placement of cubic seats and palm trees in combination with the scenic landscape causes perception to fluctuate between the near and the distant from the belvedere. The design is about the accumulation of connections and positive ambiguity of spaces, geometry and materials, creating a space that is segmented by a colourful weave. Contrasts are created through the use of colours and materials. The floor is decorated with small square tiles that are made of volcanic rock (black) or enamelled (yellow, red, blue) and laid out in straight lines at right angles drawing large grey squares with white architectural elements. Ultimately, the effect is to highlight the coloured lines. The "benches" are actually white prefabricated blocks assembled in various combinations in a crescendo that builds up to a step-like structure that almost recalls a totem pointing to one of the roads. The use of the coloured tiles (lava stone and enamelled) is repeated on the white benches, extending the lines along the ground. New backdrops are created for the square and the viewpoint area, against the blind walls of the buildings, with wooden strips assembled in a pattern that clearly evokes the floor through the repetition of the colours (yellow, red, blue) reflecting the shiny Mediterranean light.
Location: Vittoria, Ragusa
Client: AB Azimut on the behalf of Comune di Vittoria
Gross Floor Area: 1598 m2
Cost of Construction: 139.155 Euros
Architects: architetto Valentina Fisichella
Works Management: Valentina Fisichella
Contractor: Lauretta Salvatore
Photography: 1/6 © Salvo Carpino, 7/10 © Ignazio Castrogiovanni
Born in 1977, architect Valentina Fisichella received her PhD in Architectural Design in 2009. She earned a master’s degree in the Restoration of Modern Architecture at the Politecnico di Milano (2006) and completed a specialization course in Exhibition and Event Design at Fondazione Fiera Milano (2005).
Parallel to her research and lecturing duties, since 2005, she has worked in both Milan and Sicily, focusing on public works, consultancy, and private projects. Fisichella has always devoted special attention to participating in design competitions, and national and international competitions, as well as publishing essays and articles.
Previously adjunct professor with the Architecture and Architectural Design Workshop 2 and teaching assistant in the course Design for the Restoration of Twentieth Century Architecture, both at Politecnico di Milano, she also worked as a consultant with Coni Services for the City of Milan, assisting with the design and direction of the Novecento sports and recreation complex, operated by Milanosport.
In charge of Business Development & Project Advisory for Team Zero, she currently focuses on coordinating the work of Italian Companies of Excellence (B&B Italia, iGuzzini, Lab23, Legnolandia, Lifegate/TBWA, Meraviglia, Panzeri, and Peverelli) involved in the design and construction of pavilions and open spaces for EXPO 2015.
Among her various professional awards, she received two mentions in the national Architecture Oggi! exhibition and award (Ragusa, December 2012 – Jury: M. Galantino, M. Mulazzani, M. Vercelloni), and was named among Sicily’s most influential young architects in the journal IoArch (no. 48, May–June 2013).