Nadya Stamatova
The project "INTERNATIONAL DESIGN CENTER, REBUILDING OF THE QUARRY NEAR PUSIANO, ITALY" was designed in Italy on meeting of 10 architects from East Europe (1st-6th July 1990), invited to solve the ecological problem of the limestone quarry near Pusiano.
The comments of the jury resumed by its chairman Enzo Mari was:
"This is the only project from the presented ideas that solves the problem. And in the addition, the most artistic one"
This project was presented also at Ecological Conference "Eco-shield" in Varna, Bulgaria (18th-20th May1994), sponsored by American Agency Of International Development.

What was the real reason for organizing the symposium in Pusiano?
The Merone factory, situated to the North of Milan and to the East of Como, at present one of the largest producers of cement in Europe, has faced the problem raised by the extraction of the basic stuff for producing cement - limestone. The factory is visible in the foreground, the Pusiano lake with the village on its bank is in the middle distance and the two quarries are in the background. Leftside is the abandoned quarry exploited to complete exhaustion, which in fact has been the main topic of our research. The active quarry is on the right in perspective to be confronted by the same problem. The slides being shown at the moment will give us an idea of the geological structure of the mountain slope, as well as some information about the way this factory has daily control over the maintenance of the ecological balance in the quarries. In spite of the precautions however, the abandoned quarry has actually been a bleeding wound in the flesh of the mountain slope and developing cement industry will obviously multiply such wounds day bay day. That's why the factory has started a search for any healing ideas.

The second reason for organizing this meeting was the suggestion of the Italian authorities to turn the abandoned quarry into a dung-hill. The native people supported by their mayor asked the professors of architecture in Milan to create new ideas of a different exploitation of the quarry. As a result the project of situating an International Design Center in the quarry has originated. When we, having been invited by native people, arrived in Pusiano, an exhibition of the pieces of the world leading masters of design had already been presented in the conference hall of the local school. There were exposed works of Gae Aulenti, Mario Belini, Rodolfo Bonetto, Achille Castilionni, Vico Magistreti, Enzo Mari, Alessandro Mendini, Bruno Munari, Ettore Sottsass, Marco Zanuso, Italo Antico, Walter Ballmer, Augusto Garau, Horacio Garsia Rossi, Gaetano Kanizsa, Guiseppe Minoretti, Gracia Varisco, Roberto Veccione and Shizuco Yoshikawa and some of them were attending the discussion of our projects. Enzo Mari added his jocular explanation to my project that it wouldn't change the function of the quarry demanded by the Italian authorities. In his view it would practically remain a dung-hill but for the declined pieces of the world design.

It is no chance that the topic was given the title "In and out of the hole" by the organizers. It was really a huge pit in the mountain with the size of an average volcano crater (350 m long and 100 m wide), having the depth of a four to five-storey facility. The texture of the mountain slope had been damaged upwards as well. The two existing tunnels, having served as a passage for trucks, are quite obvious in the model. Under the road, on which they have been situated, the slope is very steep too. The rocks are visible from the distance, respectively the facilities would be visible as well. They would be invisible in the foreground, however, because of the declivity of the slope. The metal construction spanning over the entire facility would carry exactly the same information function, as well as to lit the square area and to install temporary tent coverings. The main urbanistic idea of the project is very simple. The whole area would be divided into strips parallel to the rock 6 m in width and the separate facilities would be built according to the relevant urbanistic conception.

How did it all occur in my mind? In my opinion, there's no wasted time in human's life. Before I started studying architecture, I had completed two terms in dam-construction. I liked engineering geology very much. At that time I had no idea that fifteen years later, passing through a tunnel, I would feel a water-drop falling on my hair. I would look upwards and notice the stratums arranged in a plan. At that moment the words "GEOTECTONICS" and "ARCHITECTONICS" tingled in my mind. Getting out of the tunnel I had the most impressing vision I could ever imagine - an imposing plastic composition dipped in space, in which we, people were so small and helpless facing the nature and, yet so powerful in injuring it. The rest of it was to sketch the rocks and to make the model I'm presenting to you at the moment. The hand on the right of the model appeared incidentally - exactly when my own hand shadowed the model and I got the feeling of reaching to a complete finali to everything. A critic in front of the TV cameras at the conference compared this hand to the symbol of design as a whole. My project was applauded and was interpreted in different ways by different people, but I've just explained how simple my motives were to design it this way.

Here follows the official paper of the project presented at the conference in Pusiano.

"GEOTECTONICS and ARCHITECTONICS are the key words symbolizing this project. Man has removed stratum after stratum from the geotectonic texture so now we need to pile up layer after layer to the architectonic structure. Similar is the structure of the Indian pyramids resembling giant bulbs. The project demonstrated by this model represents only one of the possible stages of the development of the complex. As long as it is build up now, everything will look different after 500 years of permanent new strata supplementation. After all the ideal shape of the slope would be the one it had when untouched.

If we analyze the project realistically the construction has to begin with the big hall which will house the objects exhibited at this meeting. Further on, if some of the artists create a larger exhibition and can afford it, they will have a 6m stripe parallel to the rock. Available in this stripe they will be able to construct freely their exhibition area. Thanks God the quarry is large enough and I hope it can shelter the artistic creations of many designers who are to be born in the future. The studia are situated in the left part of the complex. The right part houses everything connected with the audience - lecture and video rooms, restaurants, cafe, temporary exhibitions.

I presume only one point obligatory for the artistic image - the application of natural materials. I have exposed specimens of minerals and rocks I found in the quarry near the model and you see, there is a great variety. The green stripes located on the separate strata have to be formed by the same verdure which is growing in the quarry now. There are some herbs - millfoil, St.Johns wort and the thyme. It made the local nature of Lombardia familiar to me. I could easily feel the spirit of this place.

Man has to be sincere when designing. May be you will see in my project roads and mountains, waves and sun, stars and hands and who knows what else. In fact all this was curved on the rocks and I just copied it from there."