location: Linguaglossa, Italy
client: Municipality of Linguaglossa
colaborators: Luigi Centola Associati
description: In the winter 2001 the lava started to spew out of the northern rim of Mount Etna. A week later a massive lava flow averaging 400m in width and 8m in depth had destroyed the Etna North Ski Resort. It had destroyed the entire infrastructure and was subsequently threatening the nearby town of Linguglossa. As soon as the lava started to cool the reconstruction commenced despite the advice from the volcanologists that an eruption will happen again. The reconstruction of the whole area resulted in an invited competition that urban future organization won in 2002. We proposed a strategy for a development that would increase the probability of protecting people and permanent infrastructure from a future lava flow. This initiated research into volcanic eruptions and the behaviour of lava. We attempted to understand the topographical and material/textural conditions to optimizing the possibility for channelling, diverting and breaking up larger lava flows in a more sophisticated manner than the retention technique currently used. Natural Phenomena are incredibly complex in both cause, effect and experience. A single logic, system or pattern seems to be inadequate for the creation of a model/simulation of a natural phenomenon with a multi-facetted complexity such as a volcanic eruption. It seems like the effect arises out of conditioned noise and an approximated understanding or logic of the behaviour may only be represented by multiple systems that control different variables. There is no single correct model or representation of a complex natural system of that kind but only different ways that one could approximate a simulation of it. One could potentially optimize the conditions for a natural phenomenon to behave in a certain way. What was quite obvious in our research was that the requirement of the behaviour of both formal and material systems were different i.e. a texture or material had to behave in a different way than the form. Thus the models of single controlling systems or self similar structures that we attempted to deploy seem to fall short of delivering an adequate response to the multi-facetted behaviour of such a complex natural system. However, we had to rely on multiple systems, each addressing the behaviour of a particular phenomenon which was a subset of the larger phenomena of the volcanic eruption.