Conservative works on the historical real estate assets of Ugo Da Como Foundation

Lecture excerpts from “Sustainability in Garda Festival” 2017 april 23.

Ugo Da Como Foundation owns an exceptional monumental site including a Museum-home, the Viscontean-Venetian Fortress and a small group of old houses part of the Medieval village of Lonato.

The foundation estate left by Senator Ugo Da Como not only includes the above mentioned buildings but also the library, art and furniture collections housed inside the House of The Mayor.

© Ugo da Como Foundation

The estate is not just an economical asset but is crealy made of historical buildings of cultural signifiance with huge impact on the sorrounding landscape.

© Fondazione Ugo da Como

As an Architect I’m honoured the Foundation put me in charge of the conservation and renovation projects of its real estate assets.

Each renovation project includes a complex design process: each single conservation work must be approved by by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage that can decide case by case which work will get an official permit to proceed.

Renovation of tickets office and bookshop of the Museum-home was the first proper project I had the pleasure to work on.

I designed a new layout for the existing ticket office with the goal to maximize available space, find the right place for the counter and provide custom-made books displays: the room now also serves as bookshop.

Materials used in this project are put in relation with the historical and artistic environment, without trying to mimic it.

In this moment main concern dealing with the old buildings – part of the Medieval village – is securing rooftops while at the same time taking into consideration the future overall renovation of the buildings.

Students of Brescia Unviersity are working on a feasibility study to transform into a multi-building hotel some of these old buildings in the neighbourhood called Cittadella.

The goal of this renovation is to fully blend the new project with the historical, architectural, cultural and social environment of the village, therefore preserving its original identity.

The main project I’m still working on is the new pavilion in the main courtyard of the Lonato Fortress.

This project comes from the need to build a new structure to hold events, in place of the previous temporary tent.

The main goal was to find a new architectural solution to overcome limitations of the previous temporary tent: we wanted to minimize impact on the surrounding environment while using the right volumetric size in line with the monumental context.

Previous tent was put in place in 2006 and lately presented visible deterioration. The space was mainly used for gala dinners and receptions but the actual intent is to create a multi-functional space also used for conventions, exhibitions, concerts and conferences, therefore expanding Ugo Da Como Foundation activities and bringing new life into the ancient fortress.

The new building’s identity is the result of several factors: reading of historical and natural surroundings, relations with the historical buildings themselves and different functions for the new building.

The main goal is to build an architecture that is ‘silent’ without sacrificing character and a dialogue with the surrounding environment: a space able to welcome visitors with all the due comforts required of a contemporary facility.

The overall concept goes towards a bigger renovation project that includes the different quarters of the Fortress, aiming to a better use of the spaces providing new functions for the community of Lonato.

One of the goals is to get official permits to build a second ticket office, renovate the pathways layout of the courtyards and to proceed with a new light design.

The ultimate goal is to preserve and promote the cultural heritage in its entirety. Renovation of the real estate means using it for more functions and therefore being able to sustain its conservation.

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