The project for the valley and mountain stations of the Bolzano-San Genesio cableway is designed to be a single intervention connecting the South Tyrolean capital and the town of San Genesio, qualifying itself not simply as an intervention for interpreting two technical structures, but rather as an opportunity for the reconfiguration of spatial arrangements capable of reinterpreting the dialectic between nature – man-made structure, open space – built space, local conditions – territorial arrangements.
While working within a framework of common transformative strategies, the specific conditions of the environment within which the two stations are located have some local specificities, outlining a common approach to the project that is expressed in a differentiated way. The macro-scale strategy links the project of the two stations to a wider connective urban fabric: cycle paths, hiking trails, open space systems along the Talvera stream become part of a network that links, albeit at an altitude, according to different topographical conditions, both the Val Sarentino to the city of Bolzano and also the complex system that includes San Genesio and the Salto plateau, whose noteworthy nodes consist of historicised architectures with a predominantly vertical development, discrete signs that can integrate with the landscape, special strategic points in the territory. Castel Roncolo, Castel Mareccio, Castel Rafenstein, Torre Druso, are just some of the outcrops that become strongholds in the landscape, architectures with which the project of the valley and mountain stations for the new Bolzano San Genesio cable car tries to interact with, not just in the desire to elevate itself as a “node” but rather in the spatial constitution of a new architecture, rooted in local tradition on the one hand, and capable of establishing a contemporary architectural language on the other. Consistent with this interpretative approach to the territory, the project attempts to articulate two architectures capable of interpreting the thickness of the wall, differentiating the conditions of interiority and exteriority, as a container of places, an inhabited gap in which vertical connections, large and deep openings can be arranged to frame the surrounding landscape, service spaces, and service ducts.
The compositional principle that led to the two architectures was, therefore, that of subtraction: in both artefacts, a primary volume that was configured as a monolithic block was excavated and eroded. As in the fortified architecture of the surrounding landscape, the wall becomes an inhabited place, a threshold space between the interior of the building and its surroundings. In line with this logic, the two volumes are characterised by their materiality, elements that are modelled adapting to the morphology of the elements of the surrounding landscape, masses capable of taking root in the ground. Faced with a common architectural language, the volumes of the two stations are expressed in different ways, since they are influenced by the specific local conditions of their surroundings. The valley station, interpreting, on the one hand, the idea of inhabited walls, capable of defining the sequence between the Talvera, the long river with its system of cycle paths, the new ground level parking lot at the height of the SS508, the square in front of the valley station, becomes, on the one hand, a base element, a metaphor for the retaining wall of the terraced vineyards, and on the other, a vertical volume, capable of designating a privileged point, apparatus consistent with the technical needs of the building.
The transformative project for the mountain station, as per the specific requirements of the invitation to tender, attempts to express directly the relationship between landscape and architecture, articulating the theme is a large terrace – base that can house the technical equipment required for the operation of the system, while constructing a privileged setting from which to view the Bolzano valley. In the upper station, therefore, the horizontal dimension is prevalent, enhancing the close relationship that the station itself establishes with the front of the mountain to which it is anchored, becoming itself part of the topography of the place. The materiality sought in the composition of the architectural volume expresses the solidity of the surrounding landscape: the intention of the design is to express an intense relationship with the place, establishing a spatial continuum between the exterior landscape and an interior made up of cavities interspersed with solids that accommodate the planned functions. The compositional principle that governs the two architectural volumes of the station in the valley and the station on the mountain is that of excavation: the design works on the principle of subtracting material from an initial solid monolithic element in which cavities are obtained to form the internal connection spaces of the two buildings. The architecture manifests itself in a play of alternating solid/empty spaces that fosters changing perceptions of the space, and in which the entry of light takes on different forms, with a series of areas illuminated by direct light and environments illuminated by indirect and suffuse light. Light itself becomes the construction material, the operative and physical device of the project.
The station in the valley consists of a solid base with a predominantly horizontal development that reconstructs the edge of the new square in front of the station itself, and a vertical volume that emerges from this base inside the system of vertical elements previously described. The station on the mountain, however, assumes the role of a large stage, on the one hand, on the landscape of the valley below, and on the other hand, expressing the theme of access as a monolithic volume revealing itself within the wooded area of the promontory on which it stands. The structures of both the station in the valley and the station on the mountain are made of reinforced concrete. The fronts, with their pigmented concrete and local aggregates left exposed, emphasise the material and physical component of the volumes, characterised by a texture that becomes a metaphor for local stone, a reinterpretation of a lithic character. The idea that the architectural element is generated by a monolithic volume excavated and eroded by the design is supported by the material continuity that is established between the exterior and the interior.
Client: STA Bolzano – Competition
Volume: 3.405 m3
Surface: 1.135 m2
Project year: 2018
Architectural project: FORM_A
Design team: Andrea Fradegrada, Sandra Maglio,Elena Scattolini, Giovanni Munafò, Simone Natoli, with Nicola Baserga (Baserga&Mozzetti architects)
Consultants: ZH srl, Ing.Taglietti, Urbanstudio Ing.Vanetti, arch.Daniele Didone