AN HISTORICALLY-INFORMED APPROACH TO THE CONSERVATION OF VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE: THE CASE OF THE PHLEGREAN FARMHOUSES
Landscape is always the object of countless mutations: some of them disrupt its identifying features; others leave intact its original traits. Vernacular architecture is linked closely to the vocation of its landscapes, especially agricultural ones: this is the case of Pianura, a neighbourhood in the Phlegrean western suburban area of Naples, where the remains of vernacular architecture and its connections to agriculture are still traceable among the unstoppable process of building speculation which, since the 1960s, has torn up the rural fabric. In this uncontrolled development of the modern city, the architectural heritage of the farmhouse has shown its resilience: although parts of it appear to have been completely engulfed by the uncontrolled expansion of the city, in as many cases farmhouses have endured time, degradation, and indifference towards their historical value. In the heart of the neighbourhood, the masseria, with all its recurring features, remains the most widespread housing model, despite more recent interventions. Through the study of the history and architectural features of Masseria S. Lorenzo, this contribution aims to identify possible guidelines and strategies for the conservation of the material and immaterial values of these examples of vernacular architecture, putting them on a restoration and re-functionalisation path that is mindful of their past heritage and future potential.