Stadio Franchi—international competition and cautious optimism

News this week that the city of Florence will, in fact, hold an international competition to restore Nervi’s Stadio Franchi and develop the surrounding Campo di Marte. As reported by La Nazione, the initial round will begin this month—a very quick turnaround that suggests work would being during the remaining term of the city’s Mayor, Dario Nardella.

While the stadium is still at some risk—terms of the competition would preserve the stadium’s fabric but would allow a broad range of interventions that could alter it—in the grand scheme of things this is a promising decision and a win for the preservation community. Not only is the stadium now being recognized as an iconic work in a city that is, frankly, full of them, but the entire neighborhood—a jumble of sports facilities, warehouses, parking lots, and the city’s second railway station—will be considered holistically. Our suggestion to the city (for what it’s worth, if any design teams have come across this in their Google research) is to consider a new stadium, new links to the rail infrastructure, and an entertainment and hotel complex that would rejuvenate the Campo di Marte, with Nervi’s stadium as an historic, cultural exclamation point…

So, not out of the woods yet, but cause for some cautious celebration. And, of course, a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to sign our Change.org petition (3700+!). That did, in fact, attract enough attention to help gain coverage in local outlets and the international press. All of that helped make the point that Nervi’s built work has huge support from the architectural, engineering, and preservation communities.

More news to follow, hopefully further positive developments. In the meantime, if you did sign and feel like celebrating with a Negroni or two, the staff at ArchitectureFarm would heartily endorse that…and possibly even join you…

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