Giuliana Vaccarino Gearty, 2023
“Mapping Memory: Preserving and Restoring the Landscape of Sicily’s Tuna Fisheries”
This thesis project examines the reuse of tuna fisheries in Sicily – many of these 17th to 19th-century buildings, called 'tonnare', have been converted from abandoned factories into commercial centres, museums, and resorts.
Focusing on one case study, Gearty offers an expansive, landscape- and community-oriented solution to reactivating Sicily's tonnare.
Rather than transform the site into another luxury property, Gearty advocates for reuse with an emphasis on history, the landscape, and ecological regeneration.
Gearty proposes preserving and reactivating the tonnare through minimal programming and expanding the site to accommodate additional uses.
New paths connect beachgoers to the water and a small 'village' of rental apartments allows visitors to linger, and a phased planting strategy will repopulate the site with native vegetation.
How can an enriched historical understanding of Sicily’s tonnare provide designers with knowledge to address their future?
What design concepts emerge from a study of these significant historical monuments and the territories that they occupy?
How else can these structures be treated that would not subject them to disintegration or complete transformation?