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acqua e la luceDecember 2010
Review - December 2010


“Water and light”. A water park with wellness center on the coast of Cefalù, in the area of Palermo.

The I.G.A.C. SpA, having recorded a significant increase, even in the low season, of the customers of the "Costa Verde" Hotel in Cefalù, of which it is the owner, decided to increase the spaces and the entertainment and service activities of its accommodation facility by joining the PRUSST (Urban Redevelopment Program and Sustainable Development of the Territory) of Palermo, thanks to which it obtained an important example of the bureaucratic process-authorization.

The project commissioned to the Studio Curcio concerns the construction of an aquatic park with a wellness center, which can accommodate both hotel guests and independent users. The territorial area used for the new construction is next to the hotel, which is located about 6 km away from the Norman town of Cefalù, on the western side. Originally this space was used as a garden which, although its disorganization, maintained a natural visual relationship with the rest of the coastal landscape below: there were in fact several land terraces connected together by some ramps, in addition to some pedestrian and driveways and an old building rural area used as a tool shed for the hotel staff.

The designer wanted to keep, in the development of the new architectural structure of the area, this natural relationship with the surrounding area, and with the architectural history of the Sicilian city, thinking of the new structure as a well integrated reality with the pre-existing and adequately balanced with the diversified levels of urban density and bulkiness of the spaces that can be distinguished in an overall view of an area town: from the areas full of buildings, squares, paths, walls, to the more open and airy ones whose human dimension fades gradually until it merges with the natural one .

Therefore, the study of the historical past, which concerns both human and natural history, is the guiding principle which characterized the idealization of the water park, with the precise aim to give the settlement greater clarity to the territory that surrounds and contains it, and at the same time to enhance its landscape beauty, in particular its relationship with the enveloping warmth and the rich brightness of the Sicilian sun which characterizes this land and its fruits. So, it was decided to use, for the wellness center, the architectural styles of the historic city center, with its squares and arcades, its gardens and its courtyards: a long portico on the west separates the large outdoor swimming pool, characterized by an island that has a large palm tree, with the interiors of the center, on the north of the front porch. 

Here there is an internal open-air courtyard that gives accommodation in an additional tank, thus taking up the architectural idea of the impluvium of the Roman domus. 

Large windows, white plaster and wooden flooring accentuate the naturalness and the purity of the environment. The old rural building was redeveloped, with slight changes, and inserted into the whole of the new soil organization. As for the construction of the water park, with its slides, small waterfalls, hydrotubes and swimming pools, the typographic structure of the existing land well suited to construction needs, with its natural slopes and height differences, so that it was possible to insert almost natural and harmonious new constructions. This arose in the west of the large outdoor swimming pool located on the south side of the porch. A large group of tall trees runs alongside the new buildings and divides them from the existing hotel structure located higher up north.

Text by Francesca Fortuni

Photo by Massimo Sordi

Intervention: “Acqua verde” water park - Cefalù

Place: Cefalù

Designer: Salvatore Curcio

Consultants: Roberto Francios for swimming pools and wellness center; Mariano Farinella for executive wellness center; Angel

Castiglione for assistance with structural calculations; Paolo Mancini for landscape theming outside the lagoon; Paola De Biasi

for swimming pool systems

Client: I.G.A.C. SpA Hotel Costa Verde Cefalù

Year of writing: 2003

Year of realization: 2007

Cost: € 4,000,000.00

Contractors: Ital System srl, Carmelo Nasello Entrepreneur, Luigi Buongiorno Entrepreneur for building works; Dieresin 2000 srl, Acqua Blu srl for Plants

Site manager: Carmelo Nasello

Dimensional data: internal surface 1500 m2; outer surface 7,000 sq m