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Rossa in brief

The Swiss Alpine municipality of Rossa sits at an altitude of 1100 msl. in the Calanca valley in the Italian speaking part of Grisons and is home to an extraordinary biodiversity of flora and fauna. The Calanca valley has a history of fighting for its independence that dates back to the Middle Ages and thanks to its geographical situation is a popular place of refuge, despite the traditionally harsh living conditions of the Alps. The search for a better quality of life and the recent trend and need to get closer to nature make this place now easily reachable by both private and public means of transport. The IT revolution that has taken place in the last twenty years has also contributed to making professional commitments managed remotely easier. Rossa, which lies at the end of the valley, can be reached in 20 minutes from the motorway, just a few kilometres from Bellinzona, the capital of Canton Ticino and thus closely linked to Zurich and Milan. The access to Calanca from the Moesa valley seems hidden and inspires a sense of mystery. The journey up through the valley instils strong emotions. The further you go into the valley, the more you discover a magical and powerful world of beauty and are welcomed into a fairy-tale landscape. Just a few minutes are enough to feel projected into a reality that is the guardian of positive ancestral values. Nature has designed itself and immerses us in its grace and balance.

Every gesture, every intervention in this magical place must refer to its spirit of happy survival, be respectful to the environment and people, sustainable, and daring for its creative and enduring reach. The aim of the interventions is sustainable in two senses: ecology, in its wider sense (history, geography, climate, sociality, economy, politics, etc...) and human ecology (sense of belonging, well-being, feeling comfortable in one’s own possibilities and ambitions). Acting upon the substance that makes up our urban environment underlines the will to positively influence the daily life of people and children in particular, as the carriers of antibodies to be cultivated for a civil growth of the world. 

This manifesto is echoed in the words of Bruno Munari: “a civilised people live in the midst of their art”. Our work is to raise awareness about the art of our time; contemporary architecture and art, often perceived as hostile by many because of their relegation to elitist circles. The past and, more markedly, recent global political turmoil has shown how winners tend to forget the losers and how the historical Swiss system of a free yet shared economy can be a positive example in the current debate. The conscious intervention of the population in the collective construction of its own habitat has become a social necessity for the sustainable development of our civilization, in making the positive triumph the negative and in treasuring and learning from the battle for a more civilized and fairer world. Loving one’s own territory means allowing the sharing of goods, the collective and public heritage to become richer, dispelling the fear inherent in individuals that collective wealth leads to personal impoverishment, and consequently to enrich the life of every citizen, and the sense of social security.

An analysis of the geographical and economic structure of the valley leads us to the conclusion that for a lasting and sustainable development, one must opt for a business and not a (solely) tourist model in planning for the medium term (20 year) development of the local economy. The valley is too small to host a structured tourist operation but it can easily accommodate the infrastructure needed to create a productive identity linked to research and culture. The economic impact of a future intellectual production, and the minimal congestion brought by such activities, represents a concrete opportunity to achieve economic independence and therefore sustainable growth.

Durability and urban character are the common denominators of the interventions on the land here. Finding ourselves in a natural, built and geological sedimented palimpsest, we opt for expressions that have also already taken root in the world of culture and influenced its course.

Among the various projects carried out and planned, promoted by various operators, there are:

Swisshouse I, Swisshouse XXXII (Daniel Buren), Swisshouse XXXV, ISPACE, Archaeological recovery of the 16th century terraces "La Scatta", "Walldrawings" chapels (David Tremlett), Val Calanca Regional Park, Library, Multi-purpose and conference room, Ateliers artist residences and youth hostel, Biennale d'Arte 2021, a Hotel, densification of the structure of urban centers, creation and marketing of products from the valley, artists' houses (the first of Engadin artist Not Vital), creation of a public archive, restoration of the existing architectural heritage, museum with unlimited growth and the reduction of traffic with the help of electric shuttles to access the valley.

Partners of this project are:

Citizens, the Political Municipality, the Parish Municipality, the RossArte Foundation, the Val Calanca Natural Regional Park, other public bodies, the Forestry Company, the Friends who work in cultural, scientific and humanistic fields, the Associations, the Foundations and all those who believe in the Rossa project.