Infrastructural networks represent one of the key challenges to the future development of contemporary societies. They are a precious tool for triggering economic dynamics and re-establishing social and environmental equilibriums in the articulated and complex structure of anthropically developed territories. Finally, they are an opportunity to improve living conditions, reduce sprawl and degradation and guarantee the fair use of territories and cities by everyone. In a country like Italy, where the richness and variety of the environment created by art and offered by nature clash with an excessive use of land and the constantly increasing fragility of the territory, a different approach to the design of infrastructure would truly represent an occasion to safeguard and promote the landscape, and an important possibility for relaunching the economy. In addition to mobility infrastructures and their strategic importance in connecting, providing access to and requalifying entire urban areas, this approach must also embrace infrastructures tied to the management and control of water systems, landfills, waste treatment facilities, waste to energy plants, etc. Each of these structures has a notable environmental, economic and social impact. Also, it is well known that each represents a particularly sensitive topic for Italian society today, requiring the definition of targeted political-economic strategies and a capillary commitment to informing and sharing projects with local communities. This system of different facilities needs to be reconsidered, reintroducing the formal and symbolic values that have been erroneously neglected, and taking advantage of the opportunities these structures can trigger within a broader perspective focused on requalifying urban areas, and promoting and protecting the environment. To validate these necessities and indicate possible new approaches to their design, this issue of the magazine offers a selection of the latest generation of waste treatment and water management facilities. Projects at different scales, in some cases very large, that, beyond technological and functional necessities, lay claim to their own expressive value. Projects that are integrated within their contexts and introduce new functions, healing large areas of land and returning to society. While waste management infrastructures, whose need to respond to a relatively new set of problems are unable to benefit from consolidated examples, are searching for new paradigms and formal models, water infrastructures, in particular those designed to ensure the proper management of rainwater and runoff, have taken on a new appearance with respect to those of the past. No longer the exclusive arena of engineering, they are now dynamic and multifunctional works of architecture. More than simple devices to ensure the safety of the territory and reduce levels of risk caused by the poor management of meteorological phenomena, they are now public spaces, meeting points, and parks that regenerate large abandoned areas, re-stitch existing fabrics and trigger new social, economic and cultural processes.
THE ARCHITECTURE OF TECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURES AS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR TERRITORIAL REQUALIFICATION - Pg. 8
PLANNING THE NEW GENERATION OF WATER INFRASTRUCTURES - Pg. 66
Gaetano De Francesco
This waste to energy plant is situated on the outskirts of Roskilde, a city located 34 km from Copenhagen, on the island of Sjælland. Immersed in a natural setting and facing the sea. Dimensioned to treat waste from nine neighbouring towns, the plant uses steam cogeneration. The combustion of waste is used to produce electrical and thermal energy that satisfies the demand of the entire area of Roskilde. The original morphology of the plant evokes the architectural forms of it neighbours: while the lower part of the building recalls the pitched roofs of the nearby industrial buildings, the smokestacks are a nod to the spires of the nearby cathedral. With its 97-meter high tower, the plant offered an occasion to define a second landmark in the skyline and offers citizens a new contemporary symbol.
This waste collection facility is located in Feldkirch, an Austrian town of approximately 32,000 inhabitants, situated in the region of Vorarlberg, not far from the shores of Lake Constance. The facility was designed to handle the waste produced by 40,000 clients each year and to accept up to 45 different types of waste. The project site is located on the border of the city centre. The facility is differentiated from its neighbouring residential buildings in scale and appearance. This unique large volume, with a flat roof, presents four different elevations: the linearity of the two street elevations is juxtaposed against the rounded forms of those facing the private open space and the jagged forms of the elevation facing the mountain. While the scale of the centre dominates the other buildings around it, its presence is “dissimulated” by the selection of external cladding materials. Larch wood, from the forest in the nearby city of Saminatal, creates a continuous envelope, interrupted only in correspondence with the large entrances and office Windows.
This waste recycling depot occupies an irregular lot measuring 1,170 sqm, divided into two distinct areas. The first, dedicated to waste collection and recycling, is accessible to citizens from an entrance along Lindberghstrasse; the second, positioned to the north-east, is used exclusively for the storage of containers and accessed via a secondary entrance for employees only. Vehicular circulation inside the depot is organised, differentiated and dimensioned for private vehicles and large transport trucks used by the company that manages the depot. The organisation of the depot reinterprets the traditional circular layout of waste recycling centres in Munich, where waste containers are arranged around a central area occupied by temporary parking stalls. This layout ensures a clear view over the entire structure. The depot’s functions are grouped together in four different spatial units, on two levels connected by paths designed to optimise daily flows of material. The wing of the building parallel to Lindberghstrasse houses, in order, a waste storage area, the entry gate and technical spaces.
In 2003 the office of Batlle i Roig architects was commissioned by a consortium of public bodies from the province of Barcelona to resolve a series of technical and environmental issues tied to the closure of the Garraf waste landfill. Their project was divided into four phases, at the end of which the area was reconverted into a public park and recovered landscape. This formless area, at the undefined and articulated edges of a steep slope, extended across a total of 72 hectares. The project to create a public park is based on a remodelling of the terrain: the original surface was stabilised by a system of berms and terraces that follow the natural topography and slope down toward the valley. A path of jagged geometries crosses the entire site, whose edge is defined in different portions by gabion baskets filled with waste.
The waste treatment facility of the Vallès Occidental is situated in Vacarisses, a town in the province of Barcelona. Despite the important landscape qualities of this area, in the past it was subjected to decisive topographic alterations and environmental modifications owing to the presence of a landfill. In organisational terms, the project is distinguished by two large areas for the treatment of waste, separated by a road. Each area has its own specific height and dimensions based on the functions its hosts. The connection of the buildings to the ground, articulated along the sloping hillside, sits at different heights and reflects the topography. The tallest volume is subdivided into an area for the arrival of large trucks, an area for manoeuvres and unloading, a waste pit and pre-treatment area. The second volume, in addition to hosting the biofilters, also contains spaces for three distinctive phases of treatment.
This small and simple work of architecture responds to organizational-management requirements and resolves the theme of the formal quality of technical buildings. The facility is organised in three distinct functional bands: the first is dedicated to the collection and separation of different scrap metals; the second hosts the areas for loading and unloading heavy vehicles; the third is occupied by two buildings for staff. A concrete plateau, raised with respect to the level of the surrounding streets to avoid excessive excavations, was intentionally designed as an open space, making easy to change the use of the entire area in the future. A perimeter wall marks the edge of the lot; a series of transversal walls along the north side define spaces for the collection and separation of materials.
Beginning in 2006 the Netherlands activated the national program entitled Ruimte voor de Rivier with the objective of restoring space to rivers, in order to reduce the risks of flooding. The program included forty projects, with a budget of 2.2 billion Euro. The strategies included the construction of canals and berms to protect against flooding. Within this scenario, the Dutch office H+N+S Landschapsarchitecten designed and built one of the most complex works of the plan in Nijmegen: a bypass canal to safeguard this small town from flooding of the Waal canal. This canal resembles a small asymmetrical river. Running parallel to the north bank of the main canal, it defines the new limits of the historic settlement and drains water during moments of high water. A new artificial island with an elongated morphology was placed between the river and the new bypass canal to create a barrier that contrasts processes of erosion.
In 2015, in Quzhou City, Zhejiang province, Turenscape completed a new 32-hectare urban park along the banks of the Shiliang River. The project is a response to the client’s request to create recreational spaces for a densely populated urban district. The Chinese spin-off jumped at the occasion to transform the western branch of the river into an ecological infrastructure providing ecosystemic services. The architects proposed the creation of a “green sponge” able to reinvigorate the existing wetland area, that would help mitigate and regulate moments of high-water and the dynamics of the river environment in general, as well as offering new spaces for citizens to gather and integrate agricultural production. Beginning with a complex topography, consisting of a red sandstone soil, gentle slopes, spontaneous paths and fringes of riparian vegetation, the office designed a multifunctional park that preserves, improves and enriches the existing landscape.
In 2006 the Netherlands started a plan to manage the flooding of its rivers: the Ruimte voor de Rivier, the largest national programme, managed by a consortium of different Dutch companies. As part of this programme, West 8 and IPV Delft were involved in the Depoldering Noordwaard project. Noordwaard is an area of 4,450 hectares south of Rotterdam, not far from Dordrecht, in the basin of the Rhine River delta. It represents a key site for the Ruimte voor de Rivier project, one of the 39 sites that play a strategic role in managing the waters of the main rivers in the Netherlands, vital to the safety of more than four million people. West 8 and IPV Delft designed thirteen pumping stations and thirty bridges, including walkways and docks, to make the area accessible during all conditions of flooding. They facilitate public access, connect people with nature and provide opportunities for recreational activities that are part of a long-term water management strategy.
The transformation of Medellin’s water reservoirs demonstrates how a series of old water infrastructures, more isolated from the neighbourhoods in which they are located, can become a space of social interaction with the power to revitalize existing settlements, while conserving their original function. The project is part of the Unidades de Vida Articulada (UVA) municipal program for the development of public spaces and facilities in areas hosting reservoirs serving the municipal aqueduct and playing fields. Created in 2013, the project saw the reuse of old industrial water infrastructures and playing fields as an occasion to confront a lack of public services and spaces. The program calls for the realisation of 20 Unidades: spaces for social, cultural and recreational activities, a capillary network of small facilities spread across the city. All of the projects share mixed programs that integrate an infrastructural function with recreational-ludic, cultural and commercial activities and services.
- Italia sicura: storia di una nuova prospettiva nella lotta al dissesto idrogeologico - Pag. 110
– Palazzo Merulana. Il nuovo centro espositivo e culturale nel quartiere Esquilino a Roma – Pag. 112
– Digital Construction. Fabbricazione digitale per l’industria delle costruzioni – Pag. 116
– Oltre il “rito ambrosiano”. Il progetto MIND per la rigenerazione dell’area Expo2015 – Pag. 118
– Costruire sul costruito. L’ampliamento di un ospedale a Køge in Danimarca – Pag. 120
– “Macroscuola”, il concorso di idee per la scuola del futuro promosso da ANCE Giovani – Pag. 122
LIBRI – Pag. 123
NOTIZIE - Pag. 124
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