Oil complex, Taranto

In architecture, beauty and devotion are two words that have innumerable interpretations and uses. Beauty is the man harmony with the universe, it is respect, awareness, and expression of love that pervades everything from nature to architecture. Any kind of beauty must reflect simple and natural forms.


This building will be earmarked to an exhibition area. This structure is part of the general redevelopment of the Tamburi building, a former Oil Building in the city of Taranto (South Italy). The project involves the construction of a large scientific and cultural center for this city.


The key work is space. Space does not refer just to the architectural space, but also to the dimension in which humans have been living and interacting with it, going through its rules but at the same time having the chance to change it.

Pianta, sezione, prospetto

What fascinates us in this barn is the space, divided into three large naves of similar size and 9 spans spaced along with the entire structure. Observing the plans of the different floors and the roof, what we notice is the importance of pillars, beams, and trusses – all made with a single material, reinforced concrete. The scan of the structured rhythm shows that the barn is based on a point-bearing structure. The external walls present a thickness that decreases with the increasing height. Probably made with the tuff, a local stone, these walls have been created to divide the internal environment from the outside. The presence of two staircases positioned at the two opposite corners of the structure allows the access to the gangway itself.


The architect designs the spaces for the human being, making full use of all the intangible instruments that represent actually the noblest and sensitive part of his work: geometry, proportion, measurement, and the rhythm. Finally, he steals the light, to let it dance on the spaces that he has designed and to allow the human kind.

The lights control can become one of the most sublime acts of being an architect. The original pavilion was very dark, this encouraged us to focus our work on lights, which becomes one of the most important elements of the project.

The space in our project is studied throughout a hypogeum architecture. This conception becomes the consequence of an architecture that simulates the morphogenesis of the territory, deforms itself to stage a physical phenomenon. The hypogeum architecture undoubtedly works by subtraction, generating new spaces around which our project will develop. The sections highlight how, through this type of architecture, the space available within the structure increases, generating an interesting relationship between full and empty spaces and working on verticality. A large stepped staircase, located at one end of the structure, allows access to the underground floors. The strength and dimensions of the staircase generate a great striking visual impact. At the southern end, access is guaranteed only on the ground floor.

Piano -1Piano -2Piano 0

The presence of a large structure external to our building turns out to be the characteristic element of this section. A vertical construction that hooks to the rest of the pavilion with a sort of arm and then finds a continuity inside it through a gangway that runs through the entire structure along its main directrix. This structure is characteristic for its function as an elevator block, to allow easy access to all floors. The two original staircases remained positioned in opposite corners, which allow access to the gangway at the top part of the building.

The large ramps of stairs added are a new architectural element that highlights the majesty of this building.


The main work was to remove the curtain wall, to leave only the supporting structure. In this way, the result is a structure that appears not heavy, but at the same time a solemn ruin. A movement of the land generates a large external staircase that surrounds the building and guide inside it; giving the feeling of an ancient temple. Hence, the structure will be over a basement.

Sezione cortaSezione lunga

The functions are arranged in the hypogeal space in the three underground levels. The only visible elements outside in addition to the structural part are the accesses and spaces assigned to the walk. The connection with the other pavilions of the complex will take place through a direct hypogeal route.

The structure will maintain its original characteristics.



Lorenzo Benna, Davide Zanoni