ENEL INFORMATION CENTRE
ENTRACQUE, CUNEO, ITALY, 1998-1999

Built in the 1970s, the Entracque hydroelectric station is a large-scale accumulator powered by a sophisticated pumping system, which enables energy to be produced continuously despite the limited availability of water. Following the privatisation of Enel, it was decided to open the power station to the public and to convert the old abandoned building, used during construction work to house the contractor’s offices and workers’ accommodation, into a visitors’ information and reception centre. The building was repainted in red and clad with a grid of horizontal wooden slats that completely mask its four anodine facades. The overlapping of the red and the colour of the wood, the large portal raised by a system of hydraulic pistons, the roof (preserved) in galvanized metal, and a skilful redistribution of the interiors to include a large-scale working model of the power station, completely redefined the original building, by now unrecognisable. It is also fully represents the functions requested by Enel and the image of the valley as a whole, whilst its lighting design produces a striking scenographic effect.