The Saceba-Holcim cement plant, built in Morbio in 1961, remains operative for about forty years before being progressively dismissed. In 2001 the plant is included in the geological park of the Breggia gorges.
The deserted industrial complex and the idyllic nature surrounding it – two elements in striking contrast – have to be reconciled. A requalification investment project, promoted by Holcim and the Canton Ticino, aims at conferring a new cultural and recreational identity, in coherence with the park, to the Saceba area. It involves a planning board formed by landscape architects, biologists, geologists, architects and engineers. CCRZ is entrusted with the art direction of scenic and communication design, in collaboration with the historian Giovanni Buzzi.
The project interventions primarily focus on the main building – the tower of furnaces – covering more than 2’500 m2. Didactic itineraries, video screening halls and two multi purpose spaces are derived in respect of the building’s original structure. Eternit and concrete, both belonging to Swiss modern design heritage, are used to create display elements, signage, seating and lamps. A red steel staircase that connects the tower of furnaces’ four levels represents the only invasive element within the space, crossing it vertically like a tongue of fire. On the exterior a pedestrian path illustrates the complex transformation of the rock in cement. In parallel to the scenic project, CCRZ designs the publication documenting the re-qualification project.