The new line of urban containment, analogous to the function of the old city walls, should be the outer rail line, the Linea di Cintura, rather than the autostrada or tangenziale. This strategy continues the historical process of successive stages of expansion within well-defined limits and will force an increase in building density and an increase in resident population to imbue the area with a sense of community.
The rail embankment is widened and planted with continuous rows of trees that provide a visible edge to the city. A public promenade along the top of the embankment affords views of the countryside as well as the skyline of the historic center to the south.
It is unconscionable that the proposed Metropolitana Leggera should be elevated. Well known existing examples of the urban blight caused by such elevated systems leads us to propose that, in this project area, despite the high water table, this system must be located below grade. The subway station is located at the ‘Piazza Fiera’.
In addition to segregating fast and slow traffic on the Via Stalingrado, truck traffic is excluded and rerouted to the west.
THE URBAN WALL
The section of the loggia building and attached courtyard buildings along the western edge of the Via Stalingrado accommodates commercial activity at the lower levels and either housing, hotel, or office space at the upper levels. Continuous tree planting and the development of a sequence of park-like areas to the east of Via Stalingrado provide good prospects from the loggia buildings. Courtyards behind the urban wall establish a more private realm for the community.
The entrance to the fiera is a defined urban piazza that collects the various means of access from the parking area, taxi and bus drop-off lanes, and the subway. A cylindrical hotel tower serves to mark the location of the piazza in the skyline. A large hotel reinforces the existing uses at the site. The new hotel is ideally located in relationship to the historic city, the airport, and the tangenziale. Additional hotels can be located in the loggia and courtyard buildings opposite the piazza.
An arbor or green galleria links the piazza to the central node of the fiera. Extensions to the existing museum of modern art; namely, museums of industrial design, arts and crafts, and a museum of architecture are connected to the galleria. Lost and unbuilt examples of modern architecture are located in a museum park on the south side of the arbor and are reached via bridges over a water basin. This reflect- ing pool can also accommodate part of the boat show. The arbor terminates in the hub of the centrifugal figure of the fiera and is made formally and spatially significant through a high, walled courtyard covered with green and cooled by a series of fountains.
Extensive tree planting is used, much in the manner of the Bolognese countryside, to reinforce and define three dimensional, geometric landscape grids of areas which are not yet or will not be used for buildings. In this way the Via Stalingrado district will become a memorable part of the urban history of Bologna.
Where the Via Stalingrado passes under the outer rail line, a new city gate will be developed. This gate, together with the spatial reinforcement of the Piazza di Porta Mascarella, through the addition of a conservatory and an aviary tower, defines the two ends of the Via Stalingrado.
The radial line of communication of the Via Stalingrado from the historic city to the countryside is made significant through an architectural statement of wall. Through traffic is segregated and a lowered roadbed allows traffic to pass the fiera area without interruption. Between the autostrada and the Piazza di Porta Mascarella, only one traffic light will interrupt the flow of traffic. Local traffic is accommodated on either side of the Via Stalingrado.
On the western edge of the Via Stalingrado a loggia building connects the new city gate to the north and the Piazza di Porta Mascarella. A continuous row of trees line the eastern side. The Via Stalingrado becomes an urban space at a scale not unlike that of the Via dell’Indipendenza in Bologna, the Rue de Rivoli in Paris, or 5th Avenue at Central Park in New York City. A new piazza is located opposite the loggia building to define entrance to the fiera.
FIELDS AND GRIDS
The latent grids of planned 19th Century expansion are made distinct. The street grid of the Bolognina district is allowed to penetrate to the Via Stalingrado. The street grid to the east is reinforced. A new grid related to the Via Stalingrado mediates between these two 19th Century planned grids and formally ties the fiera to a larger scale spatial organization. The new three-dimensional figure of the Via Stalingrado wall is related to the geometry of the fiera, as are the new city gate and the Piazza di Porta Mascarella at the edge of the historic city.
Parking is located in underground garages beneath the new ‘Piazza Fiera’ and beneath the courtyards to the west of the Via Stalingrado. If ground water conditions should be such that more than one level of parking is prohibitively costly, parking garages can be provided behind the courtyard buildings. The roofs of these garages are to be developed as sports areas related to the adjacent new sports complex. Pedestrian access from the west side of the Via Stalingrado to the fiera is provided by a bridge at grade over the depressed traffic lanes.
Bus access to the fiera is provided to the new ‘Piazza Fiera’ via the service streets on either side of the Via Stalingrado.
Bologna Urban Expansion—competition notes
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