Starting from 1912, the architect Piero Portaluppi (1888-1967) was entrusted to design six hydroelectric plants in Val d’Ossola, a valley in North-West Italy. The power stations, a clear repre- sentation of modern monumentality, became one of the most important systems of water reservoir exploitation in Europe. Built in the Twenties and abandoned in 1941, the hydro- electric plant of Valdo played an important social role for the valley, becoming the vehicle for the development of the area. Portaluppi’s hydroelectric architectures were illustrated as modern cathedrals or castles; the modernity of the plant (even though mainly built with traditional materials) resides in the idea of society, development and progress that building still documents. The spaces, the relationship established between the power station and its natural environment are part of the legacy of the Modern Movement. From a cultural point of view, dealing with the preservation of these buildings testifies an extension of the traditional concept of ‘heritage’. From an educational point of view, the challenge of their protection doesn’t represent only a technical issue, but a path that requires to involve these buildings in today’s social and economic demand. The paper describes the cultural and creative approaches of an academic path aimed at returning the modern building both to the locals and the community. The proposal is the outcome of multi-layer research that converts the former hydroelectric plant of Valdo, actually used as a warehouse, into a multi-functional building that meets the needs of the inhabitants, becoming a new district hub.

Cathedrals of Modernity. The legacy of Piero Portaluppi’s electric architecture : Valdo power station (1919-1923) case study

Di Resta, Sara
;
2019

Abstract

Starting from 1912, the architect Piero Portaluppi (1888-1967) was entrusted to design six hydroelectric plants in Val d’Ossola, a valley in North-West Italy. The power stations, a clear repre- sentation of modern monumentality, became one of the most important systems of water reservoir exploitation in Europe. Built in the Twenties and abandoned in 1941, the hydro- electric plant of Valdo played an important social role for the valley, becoming the vehicle for the development of the area. Portaluppi’s hydroelectric architectures were illustrated as modern cathedrals or castles; the modernity of the plant (even though mainly built with traditional materials) resides in the idea of society, development and progress that building still documents. The spaces, the relationship established between the power station and its natural environment are part of the legacy of the Modern Movement. From a cultural point of view, dealing with the preservation of these buildings testifies an extension of the traditional concept of ‘heritage’. From an educational point of view, the challenge of their protection doesn’t represent only a technical issue, but a path that requires to involve these buildings in today’s social and economic demand. The paper describes the cultural and creative approaches of an academic path aimed at returning the modern building both to the locals and the community. The proposal is the outcome of multi-layer research that converts the former hydroelectric plant of Valdo, actually used as a warehouse, into a multi-functional building that meets the needs of the inhabitants, becoming a new district hub.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11578/276688
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