Redeveloping Contrada Bricconi by LabF3

In Val Seriana, a sensitive recovery project brings the past to life in an ancient stone-built village, designing a geography made up of new traces and original ways of working.

The territory is the territory, the landscape is the landscape, a map is a map. We can say this much of Contrada Bricconi, a project that grew up around an old stone-built village that is becoming the future: a timely view of what is happening today in the mountains, a photograph that captures a unique moment for the Alpine landscape. And it would be wrong to reduce it to the concept of returning to the soil or repopulating a village.

Contrada Bricconi entails an adventure that needs to be clarified first of all with its current operators, a duo of town-dwellers who have chosen a site in the mountains to rediscover a new professional life. Here an ambitious plan of life is accompanied by an architectural project that recovers the soul of the place and turns it into a piece of the future. Architectural design shifts the past of this old stone-built village – which was significantly chosen to give expression to the planned facilities (catering and hospitality) – to the future of the place, coinciding with a space where people will work. This conception becomes a rite of passage into the present from times so remote that they seem like geological eras.

Deciding to entrust one’s livelihood to nature means relying on oneself and counting on a landscape that has historically undermined the balance of the inhabitants, threatened by the forces of landforms that rise vertically. Over time, in this landscape, dense forces and vectors have identified a geography made up of new traces and new ways of working. Now, paradoxically if viewed in the light of an uncertain modernity, the old professions will set the tempo for our steps into the future.

The mountains were once a natural space that the inhabitants abandoned, then a place for conducting futuristic experiments and research (see the breakthroughs made by high-altitude science and engineering). Now they are a place where it is possible to retrieve old patterns of rural life by making the reverse journey: living in the city but working in the hills. The historical weakness of a community, given the scarcity of economic resources and their rarefaction in the course of the year, becomes a strength in places like this.

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