RECOVERY OF THE “EX GALEAZZE” – Municipality of Portoferraio
PELAGOS INTERNATIONAL MARINE MAMMAL SANCTUARY
2nd CLASSIFIED equal
“The Galeazze,” a place of naval production desired by the Medici to adhere to the historical and political events of the Battle of Lepanto, are born sized on the proportions of the warships of the same name, developing a characteristic inverted hull shape organized on structural pointed-arch bays that make them resemble hall churches (hallenkirchen).
The genesis of the project is thus linked to the rubbing of the Galeazza, which as it leaves the construction site carries with it and abandons part of the structure to the outside, deeply etching its outline into the floor and defining a wooden “bridge” with transverse slats, in the industrial concrete floor.
In the same manner, the distribution and display system of the entrance aisle also draws on this seafaring metaphor, reinterpreting an unfurled rope on the deck of a sailing ship to design the stairs and suspended walkway in burnished brass.
This object is designed to induce a certain slowness in travel, a multiplication of viewpoints at altitude as well as the possibility of side-by-side models of cetaceans as if we were swimming in the same portion of the sea.
The entrance is a large open space characterized by the presence of a number of cetacean models and part of the suspended pathway, which appears to float above the visitors’ heads.
The space is defined by a centrally located circular information/ticket desk, a side checkroom, and a series of “bubbles” that make up the artshop and thematic stopping points in preparation for the visit.
The large curvilinear staircase immediately launches visitors on a journey along a sort of suspended track among the Sanctuary’s cetaceans, thus representing the beginning of the exhibition itinerary.
At the end of this “tactile” experience with the full-scale models of the cetaceans, one is catapulted into an immersive space characterized by an evocative interactive underwater environment, illuminated only by a brilliant dust, a kind of iridescent plankton that floats on the screens and envelops visitors.
The audience, by means of special tilting lights can discover a multimedia level below teeming with whales, dolphins and other cetaceans, which appear when revealed by the lights used, like underwater explorers.
Continuing along the path, one has access to the children’s space, an environment that combines research activities with permanent exhibits; also located on the same level are a number of offices, a media library, and laboratories in which the research, monitoring, and outreach portions of the center find ample space and are easily accessible even outside the exhibition route
From this floor via the staircase homologous to the entrance staircase, one descends back to the ground floor in the second aisle and passes through the space of experiments and demonstrations of underwater habitats dotted with virtual water columns in which plankton, microorganisms, underwater explorers, and underwater vegetation help define the underwater world of reference.
From the area with the water columns one can access the café or continue the visit, under the belly of the whale by re-entering the main aisle.
The spatial and functional organization of the building was imagined to ensure the usability of the space in diversified time slots based also on the assumed uses. In this way, both the main room that can be compartmentalized from the rest of the building and with autonomous access to the café, the media library and research laboratory area, and the café itself can be used beyond museum visiting hours.