At the Foot of the Cliffs: Fishery Plant in Bonifacio
Bonfacio, a community of 3,000 at the southern point of Corsica, is known for its unique location: the old town, which is protected by thick fortification walls, lies on a peninsula that drops a steep 70 metres to the water. It is separated from the rest of the island by a fjord-like bay. At the foot of the fortress hill, houses from the 19th and 20th centuries surround the bay, whose naturally sheltered harbour is used for fishing and yachts.
Opposite the old town, the land rises just as steeply to become a bushy, high plateau. At the foot of the limestone cliffs, architects BuzzoSpinelli have built a multifunctional building for the local fishing cooperative. It comprises 20 workshops and storage areas, a meeting room and an office. Moreover, the SNSM (Société Nationale de Sauvetage en Mer), the French organization for maritime search and rescue, keeps an office on the upper floor. Small fish auctions can take place beneath the canopy, which juts towards the water.
The name of the project is L’Ortu Duzzi. This is an old place name meaning ‘garden with fresh water’ in Corsican. In earlier times, a small spring provided the means for lush vegetation to grow. Today the area has more of a rocky character; this has been taken up by the architects in their design. The exposed-concrete walls, some of which are insulated on the inside, show visible traces of the rough planking. At first glance, the impression left by the wide boards is reminiscent of masonry work.
The sliding glass doors on the south façade feature sliding panels of tropical niangon wood, which is also used in shipbuilding. Between the narrow ribs, a bit of daylight can get into the building, even when the doors are closed. The long “upper deck” of the building has 30-mm thick stoneware tiles whose colour corresponds to that of the exposed-concrete walls. While visitors enjoy an unobstructed view from the rooftop terrace over the bay facing the old town, the covered outdoor areas on the ground floor create a connection to the land. In some places, only a little more than a metre separates the building from the cliff wall, which naturally delimits the space to the back.