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    Rachel Briglio

    Of/On/Over Tufo: Architectures of Uncertain Ground

    Charting Uncertain Ground Charting Programmatic Densities Earthworks | Sectional Perspective through the Lotti Quarry Installation | Charting Uncertain Ground Earthworks | Section through the Lotti Quarry Earthworks | Music Commons Ground Floor Plan

    Charting Uncertain Ground

    Of/On/Over Tufo seeks to re-engage Naples with its ground, and theorises how this uncertain, porous ground condition can form the basis for rethinking how Naples builds in and of itself.



    Naples is sinking; the city is undermined by an unreliable substratum, disturbed by sinkholes, landslides, earthquakes and disease. Unlawful construction has moved up the slopes of Vesuvius, as inhabitants forget the nature of the ground they occupy. Concrete constructions within the city have led to collapses in the caverns below, giving new urgency to the adage that Naples is built on nothing. Of/On/Over Tufo seeks to re-engage Naples with its ground, reminding the city of its volcanic substrate, and that uncertain ground can form the basis for rethinking how Naples builds in and of itself.

    Rione Sanità (sanità, noun. health) stands guard over the highest number of subterranean caverns—many undocumented—in the city. As the city grows upward, Sanità looks down. The skulls of unknown dead are watched over at the catacombs of San Gaudioso, San Gennaro and San Severo, and caverns are utilised by locals to park, store and live. The health of the population of this once-prosperous district is failing, as is the health of its subsoil. The architectural proposals explored in Of/On/Over Tufo are aware of the uncertainties of this Neapolitan landscape and the precarious conditions of Sanità, but also of the intertwining material history of Naples, its people and its substrate: tufo, or tuff stone. A series of social amenities and workshops exploring ground conditions and tectonics reinforce the essential nature of a healthy relationship with ground. New gateways brace the Lotti and Tronari Quarries that allow those working with, on and over ground (fabricators, surveyors, performers) to operate in dialogue with the adjacent Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte.

    Collaborators: Maliina Toivakka, Holly Poulton and Hannah Williams

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