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Author(s): Damien Antoni
Contributor: Maison de l'architecture de Corse

U mulinu vivu

A natural low energy consumption green tourism site, Mulinu Vivu is a place for relaxation and swimming, open to the public free of charge, that draws its electricity from the river. It is also a place for information and advice on accessing the marked trails that cross the Pietracorbara valley. For meetings, exhibits, and events, it opens its doors to the various associations of Le Cap Corse.


Captured upstream, water is channelled and then sent through a micro-turbine downstream to produce electricity in a little building called the Mulinucciu (little mill), built next to the historic grain mill, which is now closed down and has been transformed into a public area. The surplus energy produced is transformed into light; during the day left between the rocks, the light filters and transforms the building into a lantern at night. During the day the arboricultural lime with which the trees on the site are painted, draws a line that shows the height of water required for production. Energy, imperceptible and invisible in theory, appears in space.

Starting from a need to have electricity at the isolated site, the architect and the association Petra Viva, the client, were employed to invent a program and process, its financing method, and methods for self-construction, by getting association members and holiday-makers to help on the construction site. Starting an unconventional operational assembly from zero was the condition for making this low energy consumption site possible.


In this context, Mulinu Vivu required little money for its development and does not earn money to all appearances. But what if we measured wealth differently? A rich project is a project freed from narrow monetary quantification, that destroys nothing – neither here, nor elsewhere, that establishes a value for its land and builds its resilience and elegance. The value of the flowing river’s kinetic energy is that of the architectural and natural heritage of Corsica, reinvested over the ages. Architecture has long given form to opulence. But what if wealth, and therefore accounting, changed definitions, what if it became that of natural capital, human capital, territorial capital? What new architecture could be produced?

Function : Green tourism natural site