LOCATION Fidenza, Parma, Italia
YEAR 2003 – 2007
STATUS Progetto
DESIGNERS Antonio Monestiroli, Tomaso Monestiroli, Massimo Ferrari

The commission to construct a small building straddling two historic squares such as Piazza Verdi and Piazza Pontida forces a reflection that goes beyond architecture, involving first of all the functional program. The administration of Fidenza, with the scientific advice of Vittorio Savi, took an exemplary attitude by posing the issue of coincidence between functional program and morphological hypothesis. The administration asked to place at that point, straddling the two squares, a public function that, beyond its necessarily small size, could become a reference point for all citizens.

We thought of a civic hall in which different functions could be held, all of which have in common that they are meeting occasions (exhibitions, meetings, debates, civil ceremonies, etc.). A hall built at the height of the noble floors in such a way as to create on the ground floor a gallery connecting the two squares. This gallery distributes commercial spaces, thus enabling the municipality to find the necessary resources to build the civic hall and to re-pave the two squares. A program in which the relationship between the public and private sectors is set up correctly. The morphology of the two squares, which are narrow and elongated, and the presence of monumental buildings such as the opera house (an extraordinary example of an Italian-style theater), the old town hall, and the stables building (much remodeled but of great typological interest), made us think of our building as a new urban element capable of enhancing the relationship with the whole context. In fact, the position of the lot in which the civic hall is inserted allows a direct relationship with all these monumental buildings and also with Garibaldi Square (the main square), defining a connecting axis between the three squares. The theme of the suspended hall is an ancient one that brings to mind the brolettos of mercantile cities in which the two planes, of market and civil meeting, are distinct and recognizable. On these two aspects of the problem, that of the morphology of the context and that of the typology of the hall, we have worked for a long time discarding those solutions that do not resolve in a convincing balance all the relationships in the field. The result is that of the construction of a building with a double facade in which the proportional relationships between the parts are entrusted with the diversity of character of the two fronts. The front on Verdi Square will be set back by the measure suggested by the alignments of the adjacent buildings. The space that re- sults from the setback, contained between two tall parallel walls, gives the front of the building the importance needed to compete with the fronts of the theater and city hall. Overlooking this sort of churchyard are the shopping arcade and the three large windows of the civic hall on the upper floor. Our hope is that this front, squeezed between the two large parallel walls, will give a feeling of welcome that is not only of the gallery passing between the squares, but also and above all of the civic hall, which, through three tall windows, shows on the square its ceiling built from a series of parallel beams. In the middle of the commercial gallery are located the grand staircase leading to the civic hall and the elevator lobby. The entire building is clad in face brick, a construction material peculiar to this city. As part of the same research, the municipal administration asked us to rethink the area of the ancient Rocca overlooking the Emilian countryside to the north immediately behind the fascist-era municipal headquarters for which we hypothesized the construction of a civic loggia, a new meeting place for different events. Two places, those of the civic hall and the loggia, just over nine hundred meters apart, connected by the town hall square, two meeting places with a very different character, introverted that of the civic hall, open to the surrounding landscape that of the municipal loggia. The loggia is built by a large metal roof supported by a double row of perimeter pillars that circumscribe the protected place. The loggia rests on a plinth, connecting two elevations of the city, defined by a series of marble blocks interspersed with large openings that emphasize the civic character of the building.


L. Cardani (edit by) Studio Monestiroli  Opere e progetti di Architettura Electa Milan 2021

Monestiroli Architetti Associati. Aule Parma 2014


M. Savini (edit by)  La ricostruzione critica della città storia Piano e progetto nella riqualificazione dei centri urbani  Alinea editrice Florence 2003