After a great deal of committed and complex cultural work, the inland Sicilian town of Favara, which lies not far from Agrigento, has earned a privileged position as a place for contemporary art and architecture, leveraging a network of relations that extends far beyond the mere local and regional environment. And yet not long ago, decay was layered over decay; not just the general order of things was falling apart but a sense of abandonment was generating ever-more neglect. Today, as a town Favara is bursting with cultural initiatives and urban renewal. As a town, it has taken all the right steps to become a cogent backdrop for the modern-day concepts of habitability and livability.To talk about Favara is to learn about (indeed, ideally and tangibly take part in) the enormous civil and social advancement that has been the town’s hallmark in recent years, thanks to a proactive approach to culture that has transformed the place ever since enlightened intellectual and patron Notary Public Andrea Bartoli showed the way by setting up the Farm Cultural Park. Architecture plays an active part in this process of cultural renewal, through meticulous design consistent with deep-rooted research into the local area, its urban fabric and on-the-ground projects, educational as well as tangible.Understanding and building design-led choices based on an informed approach to the contemporary, drawing on the principles of conscious construction and achieving high standards of living quality have all been embodied in a knowledge of place that reflects evolving needs and communities, becoming ever more refined in the challenging sphere of establishing a "physics of building”. Lillo Giglia’s project builds on the parameters of attentiveness, rationality and expressiveness. The urban fabric around the Vicolo Luna alleyway was in a dire state: some of the buildings had collapsed, many others were abandoned. His project has forged a new vital identity for this fragile urban backdrop, combining the need for conservation, reconstruction and reassembly in a balanced design that unites traditional components with a measured contemporary transformation, while at the same time pursuing the idea of a relationship between open spaces and the elements that have been built. At the same time, the project is a beacon of integration. Conservation is all about restoring built material and operating in harmony with principles that embrace and reorient our memory. These volumes deploy a balance in their reconstruction, their materials reconfigured to the neutral characteristics of plaster – indeed, the finish looks wilfully unrefined, in a quest for an orientation that melds with the higher value of the surrounding urban fabric. “Vicolo Luna” is a multi-function center that offers space for civic cohabitation, refreshments and an opportunity to bring thoughts and people together in a place that embraces them all, within an architectural project that believes in the civic values of building. The courtyard and its garden is a place that invites reflection, a place of transit en route from the street-level facades, combining the traditional and the contemporary, surveyed by a pointilliste, outline portrait of Le Corbusier, who seems to gaze at the new project with a knowing look. In the walls around the courtyard, the external walls... fragments of local stone engage in a knowing dialogue with the light-colored plaster, setting off the noble portal, while the windows cadence elegant sequences beneath jutting cornices. Glazed walls look out onto the courtyard, opening up views to the interior, to the complex spaces where the decorative onus is on ceramics transposed and mounted on the walls with a sense of the valuable antique… to the warm gradations of the wall colorings, following an experiential pathway through the rooms along the building’s two levels – rooms that greet and stimulate people to truly live the spaces in the “Vicolo Luna” multi-function center, to experience the highest of human sensations.
Location: Favara (AG)
Client: QUID Favara
Gross Floor Area: 1,500 m2
Architects: Lillo Giglia Architecture
Collaborator: Giorgio Parrino
Contractor: Lillo Crapanzano
Photography: © Salvatore & Lillo Giglia
Lillo Giglia graduated in architecture from Palermo. In 2004, he was the founding partner of the Lillo Giglia Architecture practice, based in Favara. He has worked on many projects spanning residential architecture, interior architecture, sacred architecture, showrooms and renewal of old town centers. These projects have won major recognition in Italy, receiving plaudits from critics and the trade press alike. He teaches at the Scuola Politecnica di Palermo on its architectural design courses, and undertakes research into a variety of leading-edge issues in contemporary architecture, sustainability and landscaping. As a freelance professional, his focus today is on “from disaster to resource”, his own critical appraisal of the concept of landscape and landscape design as the broadest cultural horizon for embracing specific issues such as designing parks and public spaces, renewing old town centers, and reusing cleared and dilapidated areas resulting from collapses. In 2012, he was invited to show at the 13th Venice International Architecture Biennale at the Italia Pavilion, in the Young Italian Architects/Contemporary Architecture Meet section. He is a founding member of the F.U.N. (Favara Urban Network) association, and a member of the Farm Cultural Park, a contemporary cultural facility that promotes urban renewal in Favara through contemporary art, design, architecture and cultural events. In March 2016, he won the international design competition for the “New Santa Barbara Parish Complex” in Licata.