Urban regeneration: From a military hangar to supermarket
Urban regeneration has been an ongoing process in my city for about 15 years and briefly consists in the recovery of abandoned or disused land or structures to encourage the construction of public utility structures or large green areas. The structure that I am showing you today was built around 1916 and was functional until the end of the 1980s. It is a factory originally intended for the production of pomace oil.
Credits to Nicola Cassano
The complex consisted of a main building for the processing of pomace, a chimney 44 meters high made with red bricks and a reinforced concrete skeleton and a hangar from the First World War, at the time of fascism used as a depot of weapons and even wagons. Armed with Mussolini, dismantled and later used as a deposit. The former La Pietra oil mill represents an important example of industrial archeology of which Puglia is rich, which in other cities have been the subject of operations of re-functionalization and urban redevelopment that have allowed its recovery, through the most varied destination (cultural, social , sporty). The iron hangar, of which only the skeleton survived, will be transformed into a commercial area, with a major restoration.
Today the structure has been almost completely demolished, I repeat almost because the iron supporting structure of the hangar has been preserved, duly treated to avoid corrosion over time, but it is purely a decorative component, the structure rests on much more solid concrete bases . The modern-historical contrast has given a communion of styles that is well linked: on the other hand, the iron frame is over a hundred years old and represents the symbol of the place, whose name has been confirmed and has become an inhabited neighborhood with a couple of buildings still under construction.
Today the hangar has become a large supermarket, easily accessible thanks to the large outdoor parking area. I read that an underground car park was also planned but the work was not carried out due to the quality of the soil and the presence of some aquifers. The wall of the building is covered with marble bricks, a very valid aesthetic element and also has the function of better protecting the structure from the weather.
The size of the hangar has allowed the construction of an upper floor, used as offices, with wide corridors present along the entire perimeter accessible through a turret that conceals a convenient lift outside the structure, thus avoiding access from inside the supermarket.
The building is located near the railway, a strategic position as most of the products or vehicles during the world war were easily transported to other cities, even over long distances. I admit that the historical photo conveys a certain nostalgia for the past, the tree-lined land no longer exists and a building is being born from its foundations. But the structure was no longer safe and the redevelopment was a necessary operation for the cleaning of the city, as well as for the neighborhood.