The plan for Isernia Auditorium and Info Point is interpreted as an opportunity to offer the city a new public place characterised by a strong contemporary image with figurative and conceptual roots going back to the city's most ancient origins during the paleolithic era, as testified by the extraordinary archaeological findings at the Pineta site.
The project is a continuation of the relief of the land, with its gentle slopes and hills on which the two buildings of the Auditorium and the Info Point stand. The buildings are treated like archaeological finds, flints modelled by the action of human beings and of time, the monolithic nature of which is underlined by homogeneous treatment of materials and very small openings. The two built blocks rest on a travertine base which follows the slope of the land: a new square opens onto Corso Risorgimento and extends toward the valley of the Carpino River via a large flight of steps, also in travertine, leading to the parking lot on the lowest level of the lot.
The square and the steps create a new focus for the city and a path physically and conceptually linking the city with the future Carpino Territorial Park and the Paleolithic Museum: the new buildings fit harmoniously into this integrated set of built and natural elements and define the margins of the path. Isernia Auditorium and Info Point overlook the square and encourage visitors coming from Corso Risorgimento to look towards the stairway and the hills behind it, emphasising the town's relationships with the hills around it.
Thus the steps become a walkway leading to the Carpino River and, when needed, can also be used as an arena for about 500 people where open-air performances can be held against the evocative backdrop of the hills.
The new square is dominated by the presence of the stereometric volume of the Auditorium, which stands out against the background and is bordered, on the side of Via Giovanni XXIII, by the lower building of the Isernia Info Point, which leads the path towards the stairway. Both buildings feature surfaces treated with sprayed coloured shotcrete, which has an irregular texture that underlines the conceptual and figurative matrix of flint: in architectural terms, it generates a whole of great figurative simplicity and evocative power expressing the desire to relate contemporary life to the archaic, represented by the paleolithic findings in Isernia.
The Auditorium is treated as a huge "stone" resting on the ground and architecturally characterised by a large overhang identifying the entrance to the foyer, which is completely glassed-in on the side facing the square. The foyer is thus made clearly identifiable and characterised as a continuation of the square into the building. From the foyer visitors access the 994 seat hall, divided into stalls with 754 seats and tiers with 240 seats, which may be divided up with soundproofed curtains to create two separate halls. The hall is entirely covered with pre-perforated acoustic wooden panels which follow the shape of the volume.
The volume behind the stage contains dressing rooms, practice rooms and, to optimise the principal routes in the hall, a large open space on the top level containing installations and technical facilities.
From the square, another foyer leads to two screening rooms with 84 seats each, which may thus be used separately from the Auditorium.
The Auditorium's offices, located in the overhanging portion of the building, are designed as an open space workplace overlooking an outdoor internal courtyard.
The second building containing the Isernia Info Point and exhibition space has the same architectural features as the Auditorium. The Cultural and Tourist Information Centre has an open space centring on a courtyard with trees, and is a highly flexible space permitting simple, direct relations with visitors. The entrances to the Isernia Info Point are located on Corso Risorgimento and the new square, explicitly linking the centre with the town.
The entrance on the square leads into the exhibition space, which is parallel to the steps and makes use of the difference in elevation of the lot to cover two levels, joined by a stairway which is itself an additional exhibition space. A large window on the southern side allows the exhibition space to interact with the hills behind it.
The building is designed to look like a gigantic "paleolithic flint" sitting on a base consisting of the square and the steps. The internal stands are the perfect continuation of the steps, architecturally expressing the concept of support.
The shape of the building is characterised by homogeneous treatment of the sprayed coloured shotcrete walls. The entrance to the main hall is located underneath a large overhanging portion, a sort of oversized groove in the "flint", containing the foyer, the bar (which may be opened onto the square), the ticket office, the coat check and underground service areas. The foyer is thus made immediately recognisable from the square, forming an extension of it thanks to its large window and to the continuity of the travertine floor: a space which is ambiguously suspended between indoors and outdoors, and in any case a place of value to the community.
The foyer is dominated by architectural continuity between the walls and ceiling, emphasised by the same uniform treatment of the exterior. The walls correspond to the tiers in the auditorium and in the screening rooms, and are therefore inclined and connected to the sloping surface of the ceiling. This typological solution, which overlaps the tiers and the foyer, produces a space with a strong architectural character and at the same time a significantly reduced overall volume, keeping the total cost of the project down.
Where the inclined walls come together is the entrance to the auditorium, which may be separated from the foyer by an acoustic curtain during performances. The hall is designed as a wooden hollow inside the "flint" and has the same travertine floor in the stalls with their 754 seats as is used to pave the outdoor space and the steps. The 240 seat tiers in the auditorium have wooden flooring and may be separated from the stalls by a soundproofing curtain to form two separate halls.
The same wooden floor is present in the two screening halls, which have a separate entrance and foyer from the auditorium. The two halls, which each have 84 seats, are divided by an acoustic curtain or by mobile partitions, and can also be connected to form a single hall, adding to the centre's potential to offer flexible, multifunctional spaces.
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Ventilated walls are multi-layer construction solutions for "dry" cladding of outside walls, improving their aesthetic qualities, degree of protection and insulation.
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