Conoscenza e tutela del patrimonio architettonico moderno e contemporaneo: esperienze a confronto

75 Asmara: il patrimonio del Moderno. Confronto con la contemporaneità: permanenze e trasformazioni Asmara – modello urbano dalle altezze contenute e dagli equilibrati rapporti spaziali, con il suo costruito storico ‘corale’ dall’eccellente assetto urbanistico in ambiente moderno – è oggi testimonianza di un convivere civile in un paese multietnico e multireligioso. La decisione Unesco del 2017 di accogliere Asmara nella WHL da un lato conferma l’accettazione eritrea del proprio patrimonio coloniale, dall’altra promuove l’idea di una città culturalmente, ‘esteticamente’, ma anche ‘funzionalmente’ valida. Il condurre, a livello internazionale, l’attenzione su conservazione, tutela e valorizzazione della città pre-razionalista e moderna, si spera possa anche supportare un possibile piano degli incentivi, un miglioramento della qualità della vita e anche un’opportunità per un eventuale sviluppo turistico dell’Eritrea. Asmara è un’icona della moderna progettualità italiana in contesto coloniale, in cui il valore del costruito è dato dalla ‘misura’, sommatoria di spazi e edifici, a volte ‘riadattati’ nel tempo, ma mai stravolti dalle esigenze dell’attuale vivere sociale. Gli interventi non si sono limitati alla progettazione delle Asmara: the heritage of Modernity. Dialogue with the contemporary: permanence and transformation Today, Asmara – an urban model of contained heights and balanced spatial relationships, with its ‘choral’ historic construction boasting an excellent urban arrangement in a Modernist setting – bears today to civil coexistence in a multiethnic and multireligious society. On the one hand, Unesco’s 2017 decision to include Asmara on the WHL confirms Eritrea’s acceptance of its colonial heritage, while on the other hand promoting the idea of a city that is sound – culturally and ‘aesthetically’, but also ‘functionally’. It is hoped that drawing international attention to the preservation, protection, and enhancement of the pre-rationalist and Modernist city might also support a possible incentive plan and an improved quality of life, while also providing an opportunity for possible tourism development in Eritrea. Asmara is an icon of modern Italian planning in a colonial setting; the value of its built environment is provided by the summary ‘measure’ of spaces and buildings, at times ‘repurposed’ over the years, but never distorted to the needs of current social life. Interventions were not limited to designing public and private architecture, but also saw the development of public and semipublic spaces. In comparison with contemporary ‘planned cities’ from the same period, Asmara’s urban built environment retains to this day a certain According to Demissie, it was highly indicative that this strategy in fact marginalized those places that carried a more hybrid, complex memory, such as the ‘indigenous’ quarter of Aba Shawl, the Kagnew Station, and the Tank Graveyard. These places, more difficult to offer to a broad public but essential elements of Asmara’s true palimpsest, were instead included by the experts from the Asmara Heritage Project within the perimeter of the core zone proposed in the 2017 candidacy dossier, which broadened the census to more than four thousand buildings and joined attention to the urban scale with attention to the architectural one, to intangible heritage, and to the material authenticity of construction, seeking to restore the city’s complexity. The dossier presented in 2017 is therefore the outcome not only of careful documentary research, but also of a process of devoting attention to heritage that has been twenty years in the making, and is still in progress. Since the inclusion on the World Heritage List (WHL) is an operation that may be ascribed to globalization processes, the component of promoting Asmara’s heritage for tourism cannot be wholly excluded from the intentions underlying the candidacy; however, this onerous and demanding activity of knowledge and protection would not be entirely explainable if not for the fact that Asmara’s architectural and cultural landscape bears social and identity values of significance for Eritrea today.

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