Site Specific Museums begun as a multidiscipline joint network among University of Florence (prof. Giacomo Pirazzoli, for architectural aspects), University of Perugia (Prof. Alessandra Lanciotti, for legal framework) and Bocconi University+Scuola Normale Superiore (prof. Guido Guerzoni, for management and economics); it was granted as a National Relevant Interest Project (PRIN 2007-2008) by the Ministry of University and Research (MIUR, Italy) and Comune di Cortona (albeit this last has still to pay for the grant).
The concept of merging “site specific” practice for contemporary art and “museum” by its opposite meaning of a-topic place to acquire, conserve, research, communicate and exhibit has been a trial way to look for a new vision for museums and culture centre. Right after the many public and private investments on cultural heritage were classified thanks to the Site Specific Museums databases (see LEGAL FRAMEWORK and MANAGEMENT AND ECONOMICS), the main task was to provide worldwide knowledge on contemporary top-concept museums and art centres to be utilized for the renewal of the Cortona (Tuscany, IT) renaissance fortress, the very first but realistic case-study. This peculiar cultural heritage building was in facts to be transformed not directly into a museum, but more properly into an art and music production centre, leaded by OrlandoLab cultural association. According to this aim the Cortona Municipality appointed the Department of Architectural Design, University of Florence to design the architectural recovery of the fortress; under this framework were actually done:
_ - a preliminary on-site workshop held by Bocconi University Milan (prof.Guerzoni, prof.Baia Curioni) and Department of Architectural Design, University of Florence (prof.Pirazzoli, prof.Collotti)
_ - a Final Degree Lab at the Dept.Architectural Design, University of Florence (which leaded to three interdisciplinary dissertations by Dania Marzo, Maria Teresa Idone, Aura Gnerucci);
_ - an advanced feasibility program for fund raising (May 2009) by Bocconi University Milan and Dept.Architectural Design, University of Florence;
_ - an international exhibition focusing Francesco Laparelli (1521-1570, the main architect of the Cortona fortress, himself the planner of Malta La Valetta capital) and the historycal research as a basis for the ongoing architectural renewal project. Catalogue IT/ENGL by Edoardo Mirri (ed.), exhibit design by prof. Pirazzoli and Matracchi, University of Florence;
_ - an international congress held at the Uffizi Library, Florence (November 2009).
Unfortunately the recovery works at the Cortona fortress – which would have intended to be the real Lab for this emerging vision on cultural heritage – had just begun when the local Mayor unexpectedly step back both from Site Specific Museums research and the related architectural recovery project. As a consequence, design approach itself there step back to the tipycal local one, so today at the Cortona fortress the unaccomplished restauration heavily witnesses the loose of any culture crossing content.
Nevertheless, Site Specific Museums has been kept online and implemented – as an open source tool on museum studies – by students and involved volounteering professionals. Its barely new and intrinsically low cost approach to museum – deeply alternative to the actual Logo Museums designed by self-referring archistars – is now a fully available basis for conferences, researches and joint workshops, paving the way for contemporary generation museums.
Site Specific Museum_ONE, the first side-book to be implemented online by the readers (step-authors) has been published IT/ENGL, November 2011, and it’s actually on a presentation tour.
SISMUS Project Team is glad to invite you for further sustainable research tools to share.