The space that was originally home to the Cairoli Hotel in the historic center of Reggio Emilia now houses the Marco Gerra Center for Photography and Contemporary Art, dedicated to the late artist. Its placement next to the monumental architecture of the city, prompted designer and architect Christian Gasparini, to seek solutions, particularly in terms of wall dressing, that would resonate with the existing structures. From this comes the reading of the markedly horizontal emblems of the building, aimed at restating, especially on the sides, the heights of joisted floors with stringcourses. Light cuts in the plasterwork on the ground floor echo the engraved stonework of architecture of greater magnitude. The surfaces of the Gerra Space reiterate horizontality, divided at intervals with large, wide vertical glazing, and along its entire height directly facing the streets of the historic center. The construction is heavily slashed with sudden cuts. The engraved stonework is no longer simulated plasterwork, but real. The typical course is 60cm high and is made of elements of 3 measurements: 150, 120 and 100 cm. The meager thickness of 2cm of the stone’s width is supported by a system of laid mortar, reinforced by grouting and safety joints. Between one course and another, horizontality is accentuated by an overlapping system achieved with aluminum grooves, which serves as a useful guide for regularizing the height of the stonework installations. Vertically the joints between the stone elements use a subtle application of stone-colored silicon that promotes the visual notion of a continuous façade between the vertical openings.
Further recognition of the language of the historic center lies in the chromatic choice. The creamy yellow tones of the immediately surrounding buildings blend beautifully with the golden Arenaria stone. It provides part of the backdrop, at the far end of Piazza XXV Aprile, with which this construction develops a significantly complementary relationship.