Tifeo Power Station

Place: Augusta (SR), località Priolo, SP114

Authors: Giuseppe Samonà, Alberto Samonà, Riccardo Morandi

Chronology: 1958 | 1964

Itinerary: An hard-working country

Use: Power Station

In the 1950s, the Tifeo Company, a subsidiary of SGES (Società Generale Elettrica Siciliana), commissioned Giuseppe Samonà to design three thermoelectric plants in Trapani, Termini Imerese and Augusta. The Augusta Power Station is the only one of these intact today. The building is a symbol of Southern Italy’s industrial development that affected this area of eastern Sicily, characterized by the Petrochemical industry’s massive presence.

The Augusta plant is near the coast line, not far from the archaeological site of Megara Hyblaea. Its presence in the landscape produces an interesting displacement effect, cleverly orchestrated by the architects. These designed a sequence of concrete pillars with Gothic reminiscences on the main façade, placing this architecture in the landscape as a sort of solitary cathedral of the machine age.

The power plant complex is organized in parallel bands: the volume of the turboalternators is flanked by three high boiler towers to the north and the metal pylons of the southern substation. The complex is completed by a series of low red brick accessory buildings that contain the offices.

The Tifeo plant’s condition urgently required reuse planning, before the structures could degrade further as we see in these images.

Aiming to provide for its recovery, the University of Palermo Architecture Department, in collaboration with Enel, launched a collaboration in 2014 for redevelopment of the Augusta Power Station, with research aimed at implementing technical and programmatic feasibility studies.

Text by Manuela Raitano
Photos by Emanuele Piccardo