La Porta Meridionale Complex


Designed for the Italian National Exposition of 1991 in Palermo, this project consists of a pavilion for the arts and crafts of the Mediterranean, sited at one of nine exposition locations, and a permanent harbor for the district, called the Sperone. The design imposes an extremely simple infrastructure for the project following a strategy based on the proposal for the Porta Meridionale, where a strong form is inserted into the heart of a disorderly urban fabric; the proposal also accepts the exposition’s goal of linking the residential area of the Sperone directly with the sea. Specifically, the Messina (widened to the same generous dimensions it has in the historic center of Palermo) becomes a boulevard suitable for more placid uses. To further connect the city to the sea, all perpendicular streets serve as access to the shore, and three additional streets are created. ers above high tide.

On axis with the principal perpendicular street, the arts and crafts pavilion and the harbor are accommodated in a single structure that surrounds a 100 meter square water courtyard. The floor below street level is devoted entirely to harbor activities and is built of standard concrete and masonry. The floor at street level contains the exposition’s main concourse, shops, and ancillary and administrative services. An exhibition of arts and crafts arranged according to specific themes is held on the upper level, that consists of large temporary pavilions constructed of steel beams and wood and metal paneling. Bridges connect these pavilions, which are located between permanent concrete structures containing vertical circulation and all auxiliary services. The water courtyard (harbor) consists of a 20-by-20 meter grid of columns each standing 5 meters above high tide.

Year: 1987
The City of Palermo
Palermo, Sicily

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