WOPA - Cultural Center Officine Creative ex Manzini, a "viral" process of urban regeneration
ACC Naturale Architettura Cristiana Catino + PlaC architecture urban design
Since 2014, the Municipality of Parma, the Order of Architects of Parma and the Fondazione Architetti di Parma e Piacenza have promoted a participative process to give new life to the former Manzini, an industrial complex in a state of semi-abandonment.
The process named "Workout Pasubio" brought out guidelines for regenerating the place and gave rise to various activities in the building. In 2016, a design competition with an international jury was launched to give new life to the building and the surrounding area. Our project, named "Viral architecture", winner of the first prize, absorbs the reflections of the participative process and responds to the desires and needs of the municipal administration and citizens, to trigger a "viral" process of urban regeneration by recovering productive memory to produce culture.
Thanks to low-cost interventions the citizens re-appropriate the neighbourhood, the complex becomes a flexible container, a place where history, change and creativity meet and contaminate. The result is the regeneration of a disused industrial area located in the first outskirts of the city, where the recovery of the historical-industrial heritage has been combined with the design of new public spaces with a highly flexible system capable of adapting and renewing to potential future economic and social changes in the area. The experimental participatory approach is as valid for the interior as it is for the exterior: the San Leonardo district already has a wealth of users and the final objective is to organise the public space so that citizens can re-appropriate it, equipping it with flexible elements that can connect different age groups throughout the day, in order to reactivate it as a means of generating identity and economy for the place itself and as a formidable meeting point.
The volumes are almost entirely maintained except for a central body where the staircase, entrance and external vertical landmark are inserted as the symbolic and functional fulcrum of the project. Finishes are reduced to a minimum to maintain costs and enhance the factory atmosphere as a memory value. The new structures, which we have called “devices” to indicate their role as activators of new transformations and values, are all characterised by being reversible, built dry, independent and distinguishable from the existing building.
The spaces are regulated and organised through the following architectural devices that allow an alternation of different functions and users:
the hall / hub of the main paths and facilities; characterised by the staircase, it has multiple functions: entrance/waiting room, presentation/conference room and access to the upper floor. During events, a curtain system provides acoustic and visual isolation and separation.
Wopa's new tower / landmark, which is also visible from the railway; its position emphasises the east-west entrance axis, which continues externally along a new tree-lined avenue. The landmark tower will support the installation of new experimental green energy technologies.
the Nervi hall / a system of light modular prefabricated structures, made of metal carpentry, will host the shops on the ground floor, while on the first floor an incubator for creative enterprises, offices and a library.
the radiant wall- la sala carroponte / the hall remains unchanged, but here too the existing building is reused and enhanced: the bridge crane that moved machinery and heavy loads remains and a new wall is attached to it, a light structure covered with sound-absorbing wooden panels, inside which there is a radiant heating system that can divide the hall into two rooms and become multifunctional.
A "flexible" and sustainable design; dry assembly, reuse, low environmental impact and creation of regenerative resources for both the building itself and the area. We identified the quality of each regenerative (circular) resource, defining its impact on the WOPA system and on the surrounding area. Thanks to an exergetic analysis of the resources required by the building, we have optimised the quality of the resources used in relation to the quality of the action required, reducing energy waste. Summer heat storage in the ground for winter reuse is planned to minimise electrical demands for the heat load, maximising energy efficiency. The same for cooling loads, where internal heat from the premises is extracted and injected into the ground, using reduced ground temperatures to provide low temperature fluid for cooling. Minimisation of electrical demand, using the ground as a seasonal heat exchanger, maximising usable electrical output for internal electrical loads.
A rainwater harvesting system integrated into the plant system supplies renewable energy to the sanitation and irrigation systems. Drainage pavements in exteriors increase soil permeability and rainwater extraction, decreasing the impact on Parma's water system during heavy rainfall.
The organic cycle represents a reduction in the energy required for cooking. Using an anaerobic digestion system, the organic waste produced daily is used to produce biogas (which can be used for cooking) and high-quality fertiliser, a fundamental resource for planting and maintaining green spaces on site. The circular cycle of this resource is closed by the organic waste from the green areas, which is used to feed the anaerobic process.
Recycled and remodelled materials are used for the interior and exterior furnishings. In addition, materials are produced within WOPA, where the use of CNC machines (powered by renewable energy) allows the manufacture of new objects starting from the reuse of existing materials, creating not only zero-mile products but also MJ0 products.
COMUNE DI PARMA Settore LL.PP. e Manutenzioni S.O. Opere Pubbliche
arch. Cristiana Catino, arch. Ilaria Ariolfo, arch. Andrea Alessio, arch. Davide Barreri
arch. Salvatore Cicero, arch. Marco Lagamba, arch. Emanuele Protti, arch. Vito Sorino
I.T.I. Impresa Generale Spa e Technologica srl
Progetto strutture ing. Claudio Ferrari A.I.Erre Engineering Srl, Progetto impianti ing. Giorgio Macrì 4U Engineering Srl
Cristiana Catino began her career with Andrea Bruno and Renzo Piano and was founder/partner of Negozio Blu. Since 1995 she has specialised in bio-architecture and in 2016 created ACC Naturale Architettura. Her most significant projects include Green Pea, the first green retail center (Turin 2020), the Hotel Fontanafredda (Alba 2017-), the socio-cultural centre Workout Pasubio, Parma (2016 competition), restoration, interior and retail design projects and urban/landscape redevelopment.
PlaC is an architecture/urbanism firm who develops regeneration projects; its work is the result of collaborative processes, with a critical approach about city, construction and design. PlaC focuses on exploiting existing qualities to evolve in something unexpected; strengthening of identities, adaptability of program and flexibility of spaces are the main tools. PlaC has developed projects in many countries and got awarded in different international competitions.