Ex Tabacchi Orientali


The reclamation of former industrial areas and disused industrial buildings today represents a fundamental opportunity to develop new design visions of renewed sustainable urbanity; at the same time, it constitutes a fruitful occasion to advance actions and synergies between the various parties in order to promote new forms of economy, creativity and innovation to revitalize entire districts and parts of the city. Some of these places and buildings have hosted, in the not too distant past, productive functions and purposes so specific as to have characterized their urban physiognomy and social significance. Other spaces, on the contrary, have never been representative places for the city because they were marginal, not very functional or wrongly designed. The reuse and rethinking of these voids is therefore the catalyst for a renewed interest - and an inescapable need - for the enhancement of the social contexts and urban fabric to which they belong.


Built in the 1930s-1940s by the Lecce Provincial Agricultural Consortium, the building is a valuable testimony of industrial archaeology. It was in fact used as a tobacco factory for a long time. Initially destined for reception and sales on the ground floor, leaf tobacco processing on the upper floors, by the 1970s it was used only for storing tobacco in parcels, an activity that was later abandoned due to the building's logistical difficulties.


The building presents itself externally as a compact and austere volume organized around a central courtyard that serves as a cavedium and which has a system of C-shaped distribution galleries that make it possible to perimeter the individual floors on the inner fronts of the cavedium. The façades show three levels above ground. The interior volume, on the other hand, comprises four above-ground storeys, as a result of the presence of an intermediate floor, extending over almost the entire surface, built within the height of the first floor.


The ground floor is roofed in part with masonry vaults made of tuff ashlars of the "angular" type, and in part with flat floors. The roofs of the upper floors are otherwise all flat. The façade on Via Di Ussano is of great architectural value, made entirely of local stone, enriched with pilasters, cornices and moldings all in local stone. The upper tympanum, on which the words "CONSORZIO AGRARIO" and "TABACCHIFICIO ORIENTALE" are carved, is notable and strongly characterized.


The intervention aims to consciously guide the recovery of a strategic urban site with a vision aligned with contemporary orientations that govern the most complex transformations of industrial archaeology buildings and entire disused compartments in the main Italian and European post-industrial cities.