This International Summer School “Re-inhabiting Cold War NATO Bases Valorization and Reuse of the NATO Base WEST STAR (site B)” was organized by the Department of Civil, Architectural, Environmental, Land Planning Engineering and Mathematics of University of Brescia, whose responsible professor was the PhD architect Olivia Longo. This experience took place between 9 and 15 September 2019.
It was an advanced and refreshing course to rethink the NATO Base WEST STAR (site B) located in the municipality of Affi (Province of Verona), aiming to provide the opportunity to gain professional experience, including scientific knowledge and empirical research on the themes of the course. In particular, the latter referred to landscape design, the re-use of a former military space (i.e., the NATO base), particularly the design of micro-architectures to support the planning programme, which also included the design of visit itineraries with multi-sensory educational supports, being addressed to the blind, too.
In short, the reuse of the NATO Base WEST STAR (site B) is a virtuous opportunity to understand the complexity that characterizes the contemporary urban landscape, both from a territorial and architectural point of view. The new uses to be realised are the following: Cold War museum; sensitive digital data bank; caveau for art works; and spaces for exhibitions to be visited by 100/150 max people at a time.
In particular, it is worth highlighting that the summer school followed a series of seminars and workshops realised in collaboration with professors from other Italian and foreign universities (Curtin University Australia, Politecnico di Milano, Università della Svizzera Italiana, Università IUAV di Venezia, Syracuse University in Florence, Università degli Studi di Trento, Escuela de Arquitectura de Málaga, Università degli Studi di Cagliari, University of Greenwich, Università degli Studi di Palermo).
In this framework, I was invited as an expert to be a part of the scientific committee and among the professors of the summer school. Broadly speaking, the experience I have gained during the last years let me give a lecture to an international group of students aimed at exploring difficulties and opportunities affecting Italian military real estate assets re-use and, also, at developing an analysis of 1990s and 2000s military assets management. Specifically, my intervention critically analysed the connection between the legislative framework starting from 1989 up to now and reuse procedures, delineating the relationship between the actors involved in the process, such as Ministry of Defense, State Property Agency, and local authorities. In this sense, I am sure that the lecture I gave surely helped the students to manage the planning strategies regarding the building heritage both at the architectural and urban scales. Moreover, I think I provided the students with a general framework starting from which they could develop historical and socio-economic humanistic skills, with reference to the relationship between intervention on the building and effects on the local economy of the case study.
For more information, see http://issre-incowanaba.unibs.it/home
Text: Federico Camerin, ESR at UVa
Photos: Salvatore Rugino, 2019