Fondazione Spinola-Banna per l'arte
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Founded in 2004 by Gianluca Spinola, the Fondazione Spinola Banna per l'Arte organises public seminars, workshops and conferences about contemporary art and music from its magnificent setting on the Banna Estate. The imposing country residence, set inside a closed courtyard and dominated by a huge tower built on the foundations of a thirteenth century fortress, is considered to be one of the largest and most interesting of its kind in Piedmont. Once the property of the Canonici of Asti, it later became a feud of Roero, Asinari and Virle and the Caraglio before being raised to the status of principality in 1785, together with the towns of Chieri, Poirino and Riva, by Vittorio Amedeo III of Savoia in favour of his son Vittorio Emanuele, Duke of Aosta. Following this, the estate passed through various hands until the first half of the twentieth-century when it became the property of the Spinola family. Some of the buildings are still used by farmers who grow wheat, melic and soya on the 280 hectares of land belonging to the estate. These are the traditional crops of the region, and are ideally suited to the soil type. The existing farm machinery means there is no need to outsource when sowing and during the harvest time.

The Fondazione's purpose-built centre was opened in 2005 and comprises three completely renovated outbuildings. These are made up of private and communal spaces as well as accommodation for resident artists. The centre can also host disabled people.


Architectural restoration:
The Fondazione Spinola Banna per l'Arte has its seat on the Banna Estate in Poirino, twenty kilometres from Turin.

The structural layout comprises medieval and late 18th century buildings, some of which are still used for the farm's agricultural interests. The Banna Estate is situated on the type of unspoilt countryside that is typical in this part of Piedmont between the Alps and the Monferrato, Roero and Langhe regions.

The Fondazione Spinola Banna per l'Arte has converted a part of the farms' outbuildings – currently unused – into artists' accommodation. The centre can sleep up to eight artists in single rooms with bathroom. The structure meets the needs of disabled guests.

Project choices and reasons:
The residential quarters are self-sufficient, comprising three buildings, each with its own communal and private spaces, designed to provide the right conditions for living and working. This is made possible by connecting four buildings without altering their overall volume or original architectural character. The construction materials used for this project were chosen so as to match the character of the existing buildings. The aim was to create a fully functional and homogeneous complex through a series of small-scale modifications, where the structure and layout of each building would determine its eventual use. The restoration work was carried out by the architect Cesare Burdese.