Environment Centre (Matera)
Filosofia del progetto

The Cava della Palomba (‘Quarry of the Dove'), the name of which derives from its vicinity to the ancient Chiesa della Palomba, is unlike the other quarries, which are irregular in shape and have one or more open fronts. This quarry is quadrangular and access is solely from above.

With interior walls up to 40 metres tall, it measures some 20,000m2 (about 200 m by 100 m), with an excavated volume of about 800,000m3.

The view from above is not as striking as it is from the floor of the quarry, 40 metres down. Here one feels an extraordinary sense of isolation and detachment from the context, and this is where the sheer size of the quarry is most appreciable. Looking from above what is fascinating is the shape of the seam of quarried tufa rock, which makes one think of the large-disc machines used by human hands to quarry thousands of square metres of tufa, creating an enormous "hole" from which millions and millions of blocks of calcareous rock have emerged on the backs of mules, on carts and on trucks.

Looking up into the sky, one has the sensation, especially on clear days, of being inside a painting, the frame of which is provided by the tall vertical walls marked by thousands of grooves left by the cutting disks.

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