One of the principal myths of our contemporary era, rooted in the technological advancements and massive transportation infrastructures that developed from the late nineteenth century onward, is represented by increasingly more sophisticated and capillary mobility and systems for moving people and goods. A myth that not even the affirmation and spread of the most advanced information technologies has managed to usurp, decreeing that movement, physical encounters and exchanges between individuals continue to represent the founding values of today’s societies. Cities, metropolises and the entire terrestrial globe are governed by endless material and immaterial flows, connecting people and places. Flows, above all material, organised in nodes and incredibly dense networks at different scales and speeds, that form a highly interconnected infrastructural system structuring neighbourhoods, cities and territories. A system that assumes a central role in dynamics of urban transformation, affecting the quality of life perceived by inhabitants and their possibilities to move freely and enjoy the environments they inhabit.
The policies of urban transformation pursued in the vast majority of European contexts demonstrate the growing trend toward overcoming the anonymity of transport infrastructures, whatever their type and scale. There is a new recognition of their nature as a foundation element of settlement, not only technical and functional, but equally and primarily in aesthetic and architectural terms. The numerous and interesting urban renewal interventions implemented in principal cities beginning with the redesign and implementation of infrastructural networks – road, rail, for bicycles and pedestrians – reveal the existence of a new approach that confronts the design of infrastructures from a logic of integration with the built and natural environment, rather than separation. This approach implies a broad general vision and requires a shared process of planning that involves organisms responsible for territorial governance and those responsible for mobility. Mobility infrastructures, both small and large, given their ability to hold together different and heterogeneous parts of the territory, become qualifying spaces and recognisable symbols of the differences that comprise urban landscapes.
MOBILITY FOR A MORE EQUAL AND SUSTAINABLE ACCESSIBILITY – Pg. 8
URBAN ACCESSIBILITY: TAKING BACK SPACES OF CROSSING - Pg. 14
Irene De Simone
Situated in the heart of Seoul, this immense urban project by MVRDV can be considered South Korea’s answer to the High Line in New York. Seoullo 7017 Skygarden is a 938-metre long raised linear park constructed atop a former urban motorway. The project is the result of a completion organised by the mayor of Seoul in 2015. The theme is the transformation of an existing infrastructure into a pubic garden, exactly like the raised park in Manhattan. The Seoullo project is born from the idea of linking landscaping with public space. The name is derived from the Korean translation for Skygarden and the number 7017 evokes the year the motorway was constructed (1970) and the year it was re-opened in its new role as public space (2017). A crumbling and abandoned infrastructure was converted into a symbol of nature, with the power to act as a catalyst for the city centre: an urban park 16 metres above the city occupying a pre-existing concrete and steel structure.
Xiamen, a port city on the south-east coast of China, opened its first bicycle path in 2017, designed by the Danish office Dissing+Weitling Architecture. Intent on reducing traffic congestion by offering ecological and sustainable forms of transport, city government commissioned the architects in 2016 to realise their proposal to reuse a sub-viaduct beneath the city’s Bus Rapid Transit. Only a few months later, in record time, construction had already been completed. The result is the longest raised bicycle path in the world. Anchored to the existing infrastructure, the path crosses 7.6 km of the city, five metres above street level and just beneath the bus viaduct. It connects five residential districts and three tertiary areas, providing residents with easy access to the local public transportation network, overpasses, shopping centres and public buildings. The path is a collection of ramps, footbridges, walkways and turn-abouts, that define eleven entrance points, various bike sharing stands and eight bicycle parking areas.
Gateway One is a mammoth urban hub in the heart of Shenzhen, China. The different levels of this multipurpose node are occupied by a bus terminal, the Seaworld metro station and numerous tertiary and commercial activities. The project began with the relationship between architecture, the city and the surrounding landscape; the hub has been grafted onto the southern peninsula of the city, in a highly suggestive site between the bay on one side and the mountains on the other. The design developed from the idea of the site eroded by the sea, which was translated into a large sculpture whose façades are sculpted to resemble the rocky layers of the adjacent mountains. The project is an “L”-shaped volume comprised of a large horizontal commercial podium whose short end concludes with a fully glazed office skyscraper. The sinuous forms of the elements of the podium strongly and intentionally contrasts with the purity and regularity of the parallelepiped of the tower.
Completed in Bécon-les-Bruyères in 2016 by the French office DVVD Architectes, this footbridge is part of a dense network of interventions created to link the towns of the Petit Couronne and the city of Paris by rethinking rail-based mobility. For the area of Bécon-les-Bruyères, the Grand Paris Express includes the realisation of a new station near the existing gare, currently under renovation. The multimodal footbridge by DVVD Architectes was thus designed with the precise aim of connecting the old and new station, crossing over the existing rail tracks and re-stitching the urban fracture caused by their passage. From a purely functional point of view, the footbridge connects the two stations and favours accessibility by those with reduced mobility, mixing flows of passengers and doubling access to the platforms; in terms of urban planning it represents a connection between Courbevoie and Asnières and belongs to a wider programme to modernise the entire hub. This inspired the design of a lightweight footbridge, with a white steel structure and wood parapet, steel mesh protection and integrated lighting system that transforms the bridge at night into a true urban landmark.
The highly symbolic Moreelse Bridge in Utrecht (Moreelsebrug) is an elevated bicycle-pedestrian route crossing Utrecht central station. Despite its simple language, the bridge plays a very incisive role: a sinuous and continuous sign finished in neutral colours, it resembles a natural element camouflaged within the city that reimagines infrastructure as a space of social interaction. Part of a project to renew the portion of the city around the railway station, this new 300 metre long bridge promotes a different way of looking at the city and provides a strong support to urban mobility. This soft and serpentine spline connecting two parts of Utrecht reduces travel times by more than 20 minutes.
The Sound Transit station at the University of Washington in Seattle, completed in 2016, is an infrastructural hub connecting different transport systems – light rail, bus, bicycle, automobile – that adopts an intelligent and unconventional architectural solution. The proposal focuses on creating a harmonic relationship between infrastructure and context, and making architecture a medium between users and context. The project overlaps different levels, above and below the ground, and absorbs internal and external public space to transform an infrastructural hub into a work of land art with the power to produce a new urban topography that does not interrupt the existing city fabric. The complicated intersection is resolved with a unique curvilinear and harmonic sign that appears to rise up out of the ground. Surmounting the existing street it connects the new infrastructure to the ground, integrating landscape, urban structure and mobility.
The “Transport Hub” is a railway station completed in 2016 on a site in the centre of Solec Kujawski, a small Polish city on the banks of the Vistula River. The project by the Polish team RYSY Architekci is the final piece of the wide BiT CITY rail infrastructures renewal program to develop the high-speed rail network between the two urban centralities of Bydgoszcz and Torun. The project focused on defining a system for linking pre-existing elements and transforming the entire area into a high quality urban space. The idea of restoring a homogenous quality to the area takes form in the design of a single roof that orients and reorders the disjointed elements into a unique system of spaces hosting the hub’s various functions: a bus station, rail platforms, services for commuters and waiting rooms. Behind the new canopies, the large roof emphasises the linearity of the tracks, before bending toward the city where it hosts a transparent volume containing services for travellers.
The Lucky knot pedestrian bridge by the Dutch office NEXT architects privileged form and symbolism over function in its desire to provide an identity for a space without one: the city of Changsha, a rapidly expanding Chinese metropolis and capital of Hunan province.This pedestrian bridge, whose form is the result of a playful weave of red lines inspired by the ancient Chinese art of knot tying, links two riverbanks separated by a dense network of infrastructures. More than establishing a continuous link between once separated elements, the project goes further to become a space in its own right, in which to enjoy a lasting experience. The bridge becomes an inhabitable infrastructure where people can spend time and enjoy views of the landscape from different vantage points. Similar to a roller coaster that has been stretched out in a straight line, the three catenary arches supporting the bridge are entirely pedestrian accessible.
Nørreport Station, after various changes, was recently the object of an important renovation, completed in 2015, awarded to the competition entry by Gottlieb Paludan Architects. More than a station, in the traditional sense of the term, it is a project at the urban scale. In a large 100 metre long urban space at the entrance to the medieval city, the station appears as a series of fluid and intermittent elements. Nine elegant cantilevered canopies, each with a different form and dimensions and supported on elegant stainless steel columns, are distributed across this large rectangle in the city. Their profiles and forms result from the intersections of flows of pedestrians and cyclists arriving from the various streets that converge toward this elongated space.
The Antibes modal hub is much more than a set of new functions and buildings. On the contrary, it is largely about the efficient rearrangement and revitalisation of existing parts of the city. The project provides this French city an efficient transport hub and, at the same time, it creates a point of reference in the city, a place to spend time and meet others; the canopy offers protection, introduces new services and provides places for a pause. The redesign of the ground plane heightens accessibility, regulates flows and movements and frees up views. The project develops along two main fronts to create an intermodal station on two levels with two entrances. On one side commuters arrive via train from the railway station and exit at the level of the historic city. Here, the existing station is provided with a new backdrop. Behind it, a massive podium in concrete blocks recalls the bastions of the historic city and suggests a connection to the level above, where a long canopy marks the presence of the bus platforms. In the opposite direction, arriving from Antibes by bus, commuters exit under the canopies at the upper level, above the retaining wall that, in this case, is not a backdrop but an edge toward the railway station and the sea.
- Lucio Passarelli e il professionismo colto a Roma - Pag. 96
– Linguaggio architettonico e dispositivi energetici: la sfida del One Central Park a Sydney di Jean Nouvel e Patrick Blanc – Pag. 104
– Consacrata a Rennes la chiesa progettata da Alvaro Siza – Pag. 108
LIBRI - Pag. 113
NOTIZIE - Pag. 114
PANTOGRAFO – Pag. 121
Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian