Masterplan for a new 30.000 inhabitants city, called VEMA

C Biennale4_Masterplan pp.26-79.qxd

The work of the VEMA foundation planning, started with an urban layout proposed by Franco Purini on the basis of some of his drafts, is practicable by means of some phases which are summarized as follows. The first regards the relationship between the general form of the city and its division into separate parts. Initially, the settlement plan, in which Sebastiano Giannesini has collaborated in the preliminary drafting, consisted in a rectangle measuring 5120x2740 m, inclined by 12 degrees with respects to North, subdivided in parallel bands alternatively destined to be occupied by green areas and buildings. This system has remained substantially unchanged in its ideogrammatic definition by means of all the subsequent preliminary drafts. After a careful planning of the necessary functions needed by a city, to be organized according to an organic and layered model different to that of zoning the buildings meant to host them have been distributed onto its plan, defined by a square matrix measuring 204x204 m. In a later phase, the primary element of planning has been specified in a “square” (square grid) made up of nine blocks measuring 120x120 metres each. Each modification has made the plan more detailed and above all more complicated, allowing a greater mixture amongst the various intended uses. In this planning phase it has been important to define the relationship between the urban form and the infrastructures. A wide range of possibilities have been examined until a choice has been made so as to arrange for, other than the road network which supplies the urban fabric, linked by a perimetric ring road, three infrastructural bars which groove the rectangle lengthways. These contain the mechanized public transport and end with service termini. Another decisive moment for the town planning has been the development of the green area systems. This deals with a large central cross-shaped empty space which contains a lake, areas destined to become a park and the energy production centre. The latter is to be considered as a real “technological garden”, supplied with innovative photovoltaic and heolic devices which guarantee the city’s independence in terms of sustainability not only intended on a technical level, but also on an environmental and architectonic level too.

During a seminary held in Rome on 11th April 2006 also attended by Pio Baldi and Margherita Guccione, VEMA was introduced to twenty groups of young planners under 40 years of age. After a series of close thematic investigations and clarifications concerning the aims of the programme, the groups chose the single questions to be developed. Avatar Architettura expressed its preference as regards the market project, Lorenzo Capobianco the TV studios and Pier Vittorio Aureli, Dogma|Office for the planning of the cemetery. Elastico spa + Elastico 3 decided to deal with theeducational area, with the energy park, Giuseppe Fallacara with the lake, Santo Giunta with the office blockand the Town Hall. The Iotti + Pavarani Architetti group preferred to design the mall whilst Ma0/emmeazero studio diarchitettura wished to design the VEMA museum, Antonella Mari the hospital, Masstudio the confining park, Moduloquattro Architetti Associati the mediateca, the Laezza, Moreno, Santamaria group the sacred area,Stefano Milani the industrial warehouses, Tomaso Monestiroli and Massimo Ferrari the theatre, OBR Open Building Research the sports park, Gianfranco Sanna the facilities, Andrea Stipa the entertainment area, Alberto Ulisse the infrastructural system.

Furthermore, the architects have been asked to plan, within the square assigned to them, also the housing, the greenway and the public space. After further work on the masterplan VEMA has been gradually “laid” in its place. This delicate operation has meant the incorporation of a series of territorial plans as well as the final drafting of the construction plan reduced for reasons of scale with respects to the initial dimensions, contained within a rectangle measuring 3720x2300 metres. The blocks have been reduced to 72x72 metres and the road scheme has been the subject of a close examination subdividing it into roads of sections respectively measuring 12, 18 and 24 metres. To this scheme a canal system has been added which links the Mincio to the river Po increasing the possibilities of transport and travelling within the city. The relationship between who writes what has been carried out the tedious but necessary duties of the VEMA city manager and the architects who have designed the individual areas of the new city has been, for the entire duration of the intensive and continual elaboration of the project, inspired by the necessity to bring together the free interpretations of the program carried out by the individual groups with the need to reach an overall result which somehow must be uniform. In particular, the interference between the by-pass areas within the different areas has called for a patient and precise adjustment of the various proposals. Subsequently, Franco Purini suggested that dimensions of art be inserted into the city by asking the groups to invite artists and sculptors known to them. For the planners who did not have direct relationships with the world of aesthetic research Francesco Moschini, director of the Rome branch of A.A.M.(Arte Architettura Moderna Gallery) proposed the names of some young artists.

A further hypothesis that Franco Purini proposed to the groups was that of involving external planners, even those from abroad, who would have been reference points for the young planners invited, who could be asked to give a contribution within their proposal. This is with the aim of communicating the idea that VEMA has already been inserted into a story, which already lives its evolution towards a multiple future, which will see it host a multitude of languages. Finally, the constructors of the new city have been asked to hint at a project of toponymy which would give VEMA a greater urban concreteness, full of dedicatory metaphors and of narrative extra worth. In conclusion, the work of the foundation, for the entire length of its duration, has been aimed at investigating the possibilities and the reasons for the existence of a new city which will exist in 2026.