ST 2019 | Fortezza da Basso: Transformation of the Florence FairCopyright: Hendrik Hermans
The Fortezza da Basso is situated on the northern edge of the old Florentine town and has been home to the Florence Fair since the 1970s. The polygonal fortress was built by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger in the 16th century as a Medici fortress. The Fortezza is an early example of the pentagonal ground plan of the fortress and was a model for numerous subsequent fortifications throughout Europe. Sangallo's design originally provided a regular pentagonal layout, but it was adapted to the topographical conditions and the course of the city wall so that an uneven pentagon was created.
After the completion of the monumental complex, it was never actively used as a fortress and remained a reflection of the political and social order among the Medici as part of the urban structure. The area was used for military purposes until the 1970s, before it was transferred to a trade fair use. Sangallos' ideal designs for the inner structure of the oversized fortress were never realized, so that a loose scattering of buildings was developed inside, oriented towards different temporal structures. This temporal stratification of the existing buildings ranges from ancient times to the 1990s.
After an analysis of the existing situation, an adjusted collage was created as the basis for the design. The interventions in this collage concentrate on making the grown structure and its order readable again by creating a density that brings back the ideal urban character of the site. The design consists of the three building typologies – ring, hall and tower, which create new space for the fair, define squares and guarantee visibility and orientation beyond the wall.
Plans and Perspectives