Architecture of Acupuncture
"Architecture of Acupuncture" refers to one way an architect may begin a design project.
This thesis was a one-year collaborative effort with my Masters Diploma Professors, Peter Zumthor and Miguel Kreisler, at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio, Switzerland, in 2001. To begin, a surgical study of a place just south of Pavia, Italy, was conducted and analyzed to determine the most appropriate program for that place, and again analyzed to determine the most appropriate image and material for that program. I located points in the immediate area of the site where 1.water, 2.road, 3.built mass, and 4.event, intersect on the site and called these "points of convergence." The points of convergence were used to map out a unique way in which the site can be read. These are the acupuncture points on the body of the place.
The project is an Industrial Fish Farm. It is the largest fish farm in Europe and sells fish to all of Northern Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and France, while also serving fresh fish daily to the small towns of Mezzana Corti, Tre Re, and Cascina della Colonne approximate to it.
The Farm is one and a half kilometers of concrete water-filled fields inserted into an irregular shaped land-form between two 18 foot tall existing earth dams.
The attitude of the Farm is a sensitive one in regard to the flat and quiet farming communities around it. The space the Fish Farm occupies cannot be seen unless from the roads which each run on top of the dams themselves. Two new structures are the only things that can be seen from outside the dams. One is a tower building. One is a line building.
The line building is a restaurant, ninety meters long. The Restaurant enhances the industrial program by offering back to the people of the nearby towns an opportunity to actively interact with the new farm. The Restaurant is clamped to the South Dam Road, which is used for public traffic around perimeter of the site. The tower building is the Operations Building. It acts as an aircraft control tower does for an aircraft carrier, consolidating all built mass into one central structure. The Operations Building is a landmark at the midpoint of the concrete fields. It is clamped to the North Dam Road, dedicated to the daily functioning of the Farm. Both structures are shack-like and cheap; both made well of steel and corrugated metal.
All built things inside the body of the Farm, including the two buildings, adopt in their appearances an "insect image" from the machines used to harvest the fish. They are raised up on long and thin steel legs so as to lightly touch the still water they stand in.