The project aims to convert the former slaughterhouse into a new recreational and cultural urban magnet through the proposal of a flexible and appropriable space capable of attracting a wide range of users. However, the programmatic and spatial characterization of the intervention particularly winks at the children of the city. BaBiBi is at the same time the childish name and the acronym for Basilica dei Bambini di Bisceglie: a space for gathering, playing, and learning.
Following a thorough evaluation of both the local context and the very shape of the plot, we propose as first operation the redefinition of the perimeter of the former slaughterhouse in order to increase its permeability. The boundary becomes openable both along XXV Aprile street and towards the seafront, where it’s pulled back in order to donate a new public square to the city.
The north facade of the slaughterhouse main building is refurbished after the demolition of a late addition, turning it into the backdrop of the new square. Moreover, this demolition allows the recovery of the original typical plan of the basilica. Several other demolitions are executed to get rid of all the crumbling constructions existing on the plot in order to allocate all the resources on the refurbishment of the main building and on the development of the outdoor spaces. The former janitor’s house has been kept and refurbished with an accessible toilet to make it available to the municipality for a new function to be determined.
The main building is converted into a multi-purpose space for children. The central nave works as flexible agora mainly intended for playing and leisure. The height of this space, out of proportion to the little users, is lowered through two strategies: a second ceiling of colored fabrics and the insertion of a white aluminum device structured by several 220x220cm (in plan) elements. Every element is characterized by a particular furnishing. The aisles host a laboratory, a kids library and the servant spaces.
The main monumental access of the building is positioned along the east side facing a wide plaza shaded by a velarium whose curtains are mounted on cables that extend from the building to the exterior version of the white aluminum device. This structure offers playground games and divides the outdoor spaces in a paved area equipped with an open-air theatre, and a green park with a didactic vegetable garden.