Molentargius Salt Works

Cagliari, Italy

The saltworks of Molentargius are a complex system of natural habitats, water ponds and derelict industrial infrastructure. Since the decommissioning of the extraction activity, occurred in 1985, the site has been undergoing a process of renaturalization, that has transformed the area in an extremely rich biodiversity hot spot, becoming one of the most important flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) breeding sites of the mediterranean.
If the natural assets are undoubted, the poor accessibility and fragmentation of the surrounding urban sprawl, poses a new challenge to integrate the area with the city of Cagliari, preserving the local biodiversity while improving the urban context.

Our strategy proposes an understanding of the site not only as part the larger city, Cagliari, but as barycentric to a much larger metropolitan area. The saltworks are conceived as a “Central Park” where the different evaporation ponds constitute the fragments of an articulated accessible public space, highly connected with the adjacent urbanized area. New trails run through the dike systems, allowing visitors to experience the waterscape not only from its edge, but from the intricate morphology of the extractive landscape. Recreation and biodiversity are integrated in a strategy that preserves the rich palimpsest of its extractive past as a common heritage. In the other hand, the balance between human presence and fragile habitats is secured by an accessibility which is limited during certain periods of times, such as breeding and nesting seasons: the natural rhythm of the species will dictated the presence of people in the area, and not vice versa.