The building of the new Bologna Centrale Station and the development of the areas surrounding the tracks offers the very important opportunity to connect the north and the south parts of city of Bologna and to develop the station as
the pivotal part of this strategy. It is for this reason that we propose to take the surrounding urban fabric of Bologna as the starting point and the inspiring source of the project.
Above all we have paid careful consideration to the structure of the Bologna city block. Contemporary stations should act as integral parts of cities. Within it, different modes of transport are connected in a fluent way, but also parts of the daily life cut up by travelling can be made recreated into one pleasant experience again. By layering infrastructure and program, an optimum connectivity can be reached. To do this, infrastructure has to be made inhabitable, lively. It is here that we propose to make a “floating” part of the city, connecting the heart of Bologna above the tracks.
The new part of the town is easily accessible across with inviting bridges on all sides. Travellers and citizens can then reach the centre of the new station, the Railway of our “Citta Sospesa”, via excalators or ramps. Here a whole new series of blocks public spaces come to life, with both station functions and public functions inter-related. The main station plaza leads in a generous and evident way to the main transfer streets areas as well as to the streets that connect pedestrians to both sides of the city. All public, commercial and recreational functions lay alongside the streets and plazas, protected from the sun and rain by generous arcades along them. In this way, anyone can reach the platforms dry and shaded as well as stroll comfortably through the railroad city. Glass light weight structured roofs are made only were necessary across the transfer areas, thus avoiding unnecessary covered space.
At the same time station program and city program can mingle in a smooth way allowing an attractive commercial environment, with flexibility when change of use is needed. Everywhere voids connect to the platforms, allowing an insight towards the tracks, and generous lighting conditions on the platforms. The roofs of the buildings are green and brown roofs, catching water, adding oxygen and insulating buildings. Also an extra layer of public use is possible.
The roofs of the Railway “Citta Sospesa” offer relaxing places for travellers and citizens of Bologna, with an amazing overview over the city, at the same time close to the tracks.
Streets, plazas, escalators and elevators form a three-dimensional traffic grid that allows fast access to the different tracks. All transfer and access areas are open to both fresh air and light which also offers an overview to the travellers above and below. All spaces are generously dimensioned as wished for, but at the same time the combination of streets and transfer areas; plazas with arcades and the elegant pedestrian bridges ramps outside towards building also offer intimacy and protection from the climate. One can choose to move both in the open-air as well as completely covered sheltered from and to the trains.