The new Urban Centre in Prato, Tuscany, was officially inaugurated on November 20 at the Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art. The Urban Centre is a new space located on the ground floor of the building, which enables the museum to open up to a wider and more active participation on the part of citizens and the city in general. The Centre was designed by the Fosbury Architecture collective on behalf of the Municipality of Prato and the Fondazione per le Arti Contemporanee in Toscana (Foundation for Contemporary Arts in Tuscany). An initiative which, in fact, takes up the baton of Prato’s participation in the Italian Pavilion of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale that has recently concluded. The Tuscan city was in fact a participant in the "Resilient Communities" Italian pavilion curated by architect Alessandro Melis among media cities, emerging as an advanced research laboratory on fundamental issues including the environmental and digital transition, circular urban metabolism and social equity.
The Urban Centre therefore lends itself to becoming an open space for discussion and debate, a permanent laboratory and an observatory on urban transformations which, if necessary, can also become a space for hosting immersive installations, theatrical performances, webinars and events. A new "square" and a showcase for the city to help raise awareness on the issues of resilience and sustainability and offering a rich and diverse range of activities available to everyone.
The Urban Centre was created on the ground floor of the museum, a flexible space that can be configured based on the events and initiatives which it hosts. In fact, it consists of a large insulating and sound-absorbing tent designed to embrace the entire space with a single and strong gesture. The tent is made with a fabric designed specifically in collaboration with local companies and is a tribute to Prato’s great and historic textile tradition.
For the inauguration, the Urban Centre Prato is hosting the "Prato 2050 Observatory", a temporary exhibition also curated by the Fosbury Architecture collective and dedicated to projects active in the city, together with a photographic essay created for the occasion by Piercarlo Quecchia and Alessandro Saletta (DSL Studio). A narrative of the city through 25 shots that bring to the public’s attention the local places of transformation, contrasting productive spaces with uncontaminated nature, tradition and innovation, pre-existing architectures and new places of experimentation.
The Scientific Committee of the Urban Centre was also on hand for the inauguration, composed of personalities and professionals in the field of architectural, social urban and landscape research including: Marco Brizzi, curator and critic of contemporary architecture, Elisa Cattaneo, professor at the Polytechnic University of Milan and expert in landscape urbanism, Emilia Giorgi, curator and critic of contemporary visual arts and architecture and Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, architect and curator. And representing the promoting bodies Silvia Cangioli, member of the Board of Directors of the Fondazione per le Arti Contemporanee in Toscana, and for the Municipality of Prato, Andrea Valzania, Professor of Sociology at the University of Siena.
Project Name: Urban Centre Prato
Clients: Municipality of Prato / Fondazione per le Arti Contemporanee in Toscana (Foundation for Contemporary Arts in Tuscany)
Location: Luigi Pecci Centre for Contemporary Art, Prato - Italy
Urban Centre Prato Project: Fosbury Architecture www.fosburyarchitecture.com
Date: November 2020 (concept), November 2021 (realisation)
Photographic project on Prato: Piercarlo Quecchia and Alessandro Saletta (DSL Studio) (images: 06-12)
Photographs of the Urban Centre Prato: Margherita Villani (images: 01-04)