Designed for the ‘Mobilicity: Tirana Multimodal Station’ competition, the second prize winning proposal consists in giving back an identity to the area. Designed by Morfearch, the masterplan is not only a project of a railway station: it is a project about Tirana. The chaotic and informal feature of the city asks for the tracking of a simple and clear sign that would restore order and a hierarchy between the urban parts. The system is configured as a flexible solution in different urban situations: depending on space availability and willingness of densification, the layout of the project can change and respond to city needs. More images and architects’ description after the break.
A suture between the city center, subjected to the future transformation, and the industrial suburb characterized by a fragmented and uncertain urban fabric. This sign is nothing more than a line, given by the deviation and the partial burial of the existing railway line. A line that leaves the city dragging with its new elements of centrality: a backbone capable of weaving together links open to the context, establishing a porosity between the new urban transformations and the green network.
The project area is strategically configured: it is a hinge zone between suburbs and the city center, point of contact between the new and expanding industrial area which had a strong agricultural character now almost completely disappeared. The new station becomes a urban gesture: transport flows quickly insinuate themselves into the ground and give rise to an earthquake, a landscape rises up and generates space and connections while supporting (conceptually and physically) new features.
The railway footprint becomes a urban axis, a canyon on which stood, at different levels, all functions of the masterplan. The landscape determines the scanning project: the pace of green stripes reinterprets agricultural practices and techniques, creating a system of green spaces (orchards, vegetable gardens, market garden, constructed wetland systems) and “thematic rooms” (squares, open-air auditorium, sports facilities, playgrounds) that answer to the spatial and ecological deficiency of the urban periphery.
The new inter-modal station is not conceived as a single building, a simple container of functions: the urban context and the project area require a broader approach. A “metropolitan Hybrid” integrated in the system of boulevards following some keywords: mending tissues and green, connection with the park and with the expansion planned in the new masterplan. Hence we took the decision to reconnect the area to the existing urban fabric through the distribution of functions, the “big containers”, along the fracture generated by the railway footprint. The train station itself, underground, takes the form of an hypogean element, although closely related to the external space through the continuous compenetration of light and green spots.
Making the area of Tirana inter-modal station a new urban core means also associate to the functions closely related with the station the urban dynamics supporting the “neighborhood scale” activities: trade, public spaces, parks, agriculture and new strategies for environmental sustainability. Along the axis of the new inter-modal station a whole series of activities and public spaces follow one another serving the dual purpose of station and community services. The personality of this hybrid system is a celebration of complexity, diversity and variety of programs, a crucible of multiple interdependent activities.
In this context, besides the services strictly connected to the station (info center, small retail, dining, car sharing and bike sharing, waiting rooms, offices) the plan includes other complementary activities that could have a boost function for the whole neighborhood: a new hotel stands like landmark and offers privileged views over the city center, an entertainment center and a sports facility build quality spaces for leisure deep into the green and new business start-ups for small and medium enterprises promote the vitality of the railway hub making the area attractive for future investments.
At the edge of the lot, next to the main transit axis the SH1-2 road, the landscape flaps are raised to accommodate more peripheral functions, connected to the city services, such as a wholesale vegetable market, a bus station and an indoor sports facility.