Place: Punta Ala, Castiglione della Pescaia (GR), via delle Comete
Authors: Ludovico Quaroni, Roberto Maestro
Chronology: 1963 | 1967
Itinerary: Italy goes on vacation
Use: Shopping center
Located in the heart of the Punta Ala maritime settlement, the shopping center designed by Ludovico Quaroni and Roberto Maestro is part of a larger complex that includes residential buildings designed by the same architects, and a pre-existing building, the “Palazzone Delfino.” The construction of this 9-floor environmental monstrosity was interrupted thanks to the intervention of Italia Nostra association. This led to Quaroni being called to redistribute the missing volumetry in a settlement plan of lower landscape impact.
With its longitudinal extension of about 150 meters, the complex is part of a residential fabric surrounded by greenery and consisting of small residential buildings connected by a dense system of pedestrian paths. The shopping center, the entire settlement’s perceptive nucleus, develops horizontally on two levels and is divided into two long wings that define a central open-air space, in which are suspended connections and balconies that serve the shops on the upper floors. On the ends are the entrances to the parking lots for customers.
Originally conceived as a Civic Centre, the intervention places extreme attention on the characterization of open spaces, designed to favor social relations among Punta Ala’s inhabitants. The designers intended the roof level, originally accessible, to give this building the role of a real connective-architecture, able to act as the core of the entire settlement.
The exposed reinforced concrete structure supports the roof and first floor slabs towards the courtyard. On the outside, on the other hand, a solid system of tie rods suspended from the roof beams defines the façades’ architectural quality.
The brick and stoneware ceramic finishing, the terracotta, stone, ribbed rubber and ceramic floors and the natural Swedish pine window frames are combined with a constructional simplicity derived from the architects’ expertise.