The rebuilding of an ancient tower

The rebuilding of an ancient tower

The architects’ idea was to give voice to the relation between the fascinating volume and the surrounding nature, transforming this ancient defensive tower into a “landscape meter”

Part of a series of military structures used for surveillance that were built in the sixteenth century along the Apulian coast between Taranto and Gallipoli, the Torre Boraco defensive tower is located in the municipality of Manduria. The ruin, which for generations has been the property of an ancient noble family, was restored through a project that was the work of three people, Gloria Valente, Lorenzo Netti and Vittorio Carofiglio. Inside it contains a single room with a bathroom on the upper floor that looks out onto the Mediterranean. But aside from just making the tower inhabitable, the architects’ basic idea was to give voice to the relation between the fascinating volume and the surrounding nature, transforming this truncated pyramidal structure with a square base into a “landscape meter”.

The building is 12 metres tall with a 10-metre base and has a single interior room that was carefully restored using local materials like tuff, and has a continuous, rough floor, like the rest of the tower, while the bathroom was camouflaged in a niche.

For the renovation of the vault and the roof, which had fallen in, it was fundamental to consult with the local skilled craftsmen who did the work using ancient techniques. The materials from the collapsed roof were recovered so that these could be reused during the renovation, while the unfinished steel frames of the two windows to the east and west of the tower, and the doorway to the north, were specially designed by the studio. There is an iron ladder to access the panoramic roof terrace. The most picturesque element is the exterior stone staircase, an addition that is detached from the main body of the building and is equally solid and compact. The connector to the tower is a bridge made of slats of larch wood and Corten steel, chosen for its ability to age well over time in the wind and the salty air. The goal was to maintain, thanks in large part to these materials, a balance between the solidity and immutability of the cliff and the liquidity and mobility of the sea, of the mosses and the lichens that will grow on its surface.

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