A new museum site addresses the cultural regeneration of two historic buildings in Rimini

In Rimini (gala opening on 14 March) the PART is a new museum 'piazza' inside the medieval monumental complex composed of the 13th-century Palazzo dell’Arengo and the 14th-century Palazzo del Podestà, two contiguous buildings of historical and architectural importance, facing Piazza Cavour at the heart of the city, together with Palazzo Garampi, Teatro Galli and the Pescheria.

These two precious palaces provide a home for the Collection of the San Patrignano Fondation, an eclectic congeries of works donated by leading contemporary artists, collectors and gallerists of international stature to the community of rehabilitation for drug addicts.

The restoration and functional adaptation of the buildings of PART – Palazzi dell’Arte di Rimini have been done by the studio AR.CH.IT guided by Luca Cipelletti, whose efforts extend to the display design of the collection now composed of 64 works of different kinds, under the curatorial coordination of Clarice Pecori Giraldi.

The project of renovation and urban regeneration sees art and culture as drivers of a virtuous system of growth and redemption (individual-territory-community), made possible by intense synergy between public and private interests: the agreement between the City of Rimini and Fondazione San Patrignano has made it possible to give the city an innovative museum conceived to be an opportunity for exposure to contemporary art for the public, and a tool to bring out the value of the donations made to the foundation (which can be yielded on to meet extraordinary needs involving urgent necessities of the rehab program).

Among other items, PART will have a site-specific work by the artist David Tremlett, made with the help of the young people taking part in the artistic workshops of San Patrignano.

“I would like to thank the City of Rimini and its mayor Andrea Gnassi for having believed in this alliance from the outset, in which San Patrignano contributes its art collection, based on the idea of creating a legacy for possible projects of an extraordinary nature,” says Letizia Moratti.

On the design level, “the main challenge was to create a relationship between a historic container – in a state of decay that overshadowed some fine original architectural features, like the sequence of Palladian trusses, the large multiple windows, the materials – and a variegated collection of contemporary art,Luca Cipelletti explains.

“The technical modernization of the physical plant systems, the finishing, the materials of the floors and the new window frames, have become an opportunity to express a synthesis of a contemporary linguistic-functional nature and historical-cultural factors,” he continues. “Avoiding the rigidity of the ‘box inside a box’ and inserting free partitions in the space, we have worked towards reversibility, perception of the architecture and free placement of the works, establishing a dialogue with the space and with each other. To increase the display area, in the rooms already with wall decorations we have designed supports in a logic of full and empty zones, in relation to the windows. The bases, like the floors, are in San Marino stone, a local material already found in many of the original details. This stone is no longer quarried, but we were able to find some large blocks. The replacement of the window and door frames was particularly complex; we have used a minimum section, with a bronze effect and very high performance, which redesigns the geometry of the multiple windows. With the architect and lighting designer Alberto Pasetti Bombardella we then developed a custom device that enhances the works while providing luminous settings for the various spaces.”

The impact of the entire operation is important: the rehab community of San Patrignano becomes part of a larger community and of a city, Rimini, with 200,000 inhabitants and 15 million visitors each year.

The main challenge was to create a relationship between a historic container – in a state of decay that overshadowed some fine original architectural features – and a variegated collection of contemporary art"