Ryan J Hodge and Douglas J Wright
The subject of Jan Svankmajer’s film Lunacy “is essentially an ideological debate about how to run a lunatic asylum. Basically there are two ways of managing such an institution, each equally extreme. One encourages absolute freedom, the other the old fashioned, well-tried method of control and punishment. But there is also a third one, that combines and exacerbates the very worst aspects of the other two, and that is the mad house we live in today.”
In the heavily bureaucratic current city plan Olbia serves as no more than a generic gateway city to local tourist destinations. This is apparent in its oversized infrastructure, swathes of low-density grid housing, acres of cheap stucco, and its super-port ‘Isola Bianca.’ The current territorial apparatus ‘Piano Urbanistico’ fails in its compulsion to leave no aspect of the city unknown or ‘incomplete’; zoning as a means of coding merely masks the incompatibility of the different systems currently at work.
A new system is required which works to different parameters, a method capable of capturing something of Ignasi de Solà-Morales’s notion of ‘Terrain Vague’.
Olbia is a city with an extremely (mineral) rich history - one which it currently chooses to overlook. By developing an enlightened architectural and urban sensibility, this project endeavours to empower the city’s neglected landscape by reinvigorating its mineral economies (azurite, copper, salt).
Lunacy, blue dust, splashes and rust; these are the tools at the disposal of the new urban-planner.