The team of Uros Novakovic and Nevena Radojevic have shared with us their proposal for a Urban Design Contest in Florence, Italy which focuses specifically on the development of Santa Maria Novella Square. Additional images and a project description after the break.
The present square is more an obstacle to the passengers who cross it from the rail-station to the city center and vice versa. The main axis is closed, so new ways crossing the existing square have been made by the people to cross faster the big open space. Subways are uninviting so many people walk true the streets and across the roundabout creating dangerous situations between people and cars. For this reasons in the project the roundabout is eliminated and the street crosses are less possible to isolate pedestrian ways from the driveway. The same reason moves the bus stops at the back near Pizza Adua and the taxi stop moves on the side of the railway station creating a huge pedestrian space not crossed by any driveway.
Plan scanning is given by a quadratic division of various dimensions which create diversified zones, grass zone for long stops and relax, sitting and short brake zone with bamboo, transit zone and parking exit. This division in plant remains at the same height, the one of the entrance to the station, dividing the functions of the square also in raise and making perceive to the passengers the “volume” and the difference of height which is 2m and absolutely unnoticeable now. Arriving from the city center passengers can notice nearly 2m high volumes and the first row of them are interactive giving information about imminent train departures, who is late can start running earlier. Orientation is given by slope and the main direction towards the city center giving opportunity to arrive inside the station in the faster way from every corner.
The entrance to the subway from Via Alamanni, currently an urban dark blight, becomes more open and inviting with 2 big ramps practicable by bike and by disabled people. One towards the main entrance to the station, the other going inside the ground.
The big hole in the middle of the square, aeration for the underground parking with a fountain 20m underground, was always a place of urban blight and camping because of its intimacy. The project uses this area for the exit of the underground parking that actually doesn’t have a real exit outside but just to the subway. The spectacular structure which falls to the water isn’t high more than 1,5m over the entrance to the station level, so it doesn’t interrupt the facade of the Micheluccis architecture.
Many people who come to work in Florence by train use bicycle to move in the city and they leave them at the rail-station creating a bicycle-parking problem. A big open space is leaven by the old taxi-parking which is used to plant bike-parking-trees. Order is given back, more than 400 bikes can take place and when not used bicycles are protected from rain and snow. Bike-parking-trees use the same design that is used inside the railway-station for furniture.