Porta Susa TGV Station / Silvio d´Ascia

  • 04 Mar 2014
  • Infrastructure Selected Works
Courtesy of Silvio D´Ascia

Architects: Silvio d´Ascia
Location: ,
Area: 30,000 sqm
Year: 2013
Photographs: Michele D’Ottavio, Giovanni Fontana, Mathieu Vigneau

Design Team: Silvio d’Ascia Architecture with AREP and Agostino Magnaghi
Client: RFI, Rete Ferroviaria Italiana SpA
Cost: 65 million €

Courtesy of Silvio D´Ascia

From the architect. The design of the new Porta Susa high-speed railway station for Turin considers the urban space as a public zone, where the grand station becomes a glass gallery acting as a passage, the site of a new urbanity. The city enters the station… and the station itself becomes the city.


The station’s main volume measures 385 m in length (the length of a TGV train) and 30 m in width and varies in height with respect to the external street level. The glazed gallery serves as a modern interpretation of 19th century urban galleries and great halls of historic railway stations. The building is a symbol of movement, and speaks to the importance of inspired transport infrastructures in the contemporary city. Interestingly, at Porta Susa the trains themselves (and the rails) have disappeared beneath the station in order to make way for public amenities, part of a larger urban planning project taken on by the city that favors public space over hard urban separations.

Courtesy of Silvio D´Ascia

The station is of strategic importance to the overall Italian railway network, as it is the first stop on the Paris-Rome line and is considered a main “port of entry” for trains coming from Northern Europe (Russia, for example). The different modes of transport incorporated into the station include the high-speed and regional rail networks, metro systems, buses, tramways, car parks, and two vehicle roundabouts (in addition to zones for loading and unloading).

The complex is part of the long-range urban initiative of the City of Turin, mentioned above, which more specifically considers the station area of the city as the second of three “urban spines” to be targeted for new commercial, residential, and infrastructural improvements over the coming years. As a result, the station was conceived as part of a new commercial and residential zone proposing two towers – one of which is currently under construction and designed by Renzo Piano. The design of the second tower, which Silvio d’Ascia Architecture and AREP won as part of the design competition for the railway station, is currently in the design development phase and aims to include office space, condos, and hotel and public meeting amenities.

Courtesy of Silvio D´Ascia

The building’s main functions are divided amongst five underground floors, with the lowest consisting of metro platforms and the upper-most providing access to street level. The rail platforms are located in-between (level 3), and are serviced by commercial zones and waiting rooms at the intermediate level (level 2, or -1). These commercial zones are housed in a rectangular band and are the only areas of the building heated and cooled by active means. The remaining levels are heated and cooled by passive ventilation strategies. The lower-most floors remain at ambient temperatures thanks to their subterranean locations; this helps passively ventilate mechanical rooms located on these levels in addition to providing a natural well of cooler air that is used to lower temperatures in the waiting areas and interior thoroughfares in summer months. The hotter air is naturally ventilated through openings in the glass gallery.

Courtesy of Silvio D´Ascia

The gallery also plays an active role in keeping the interior at comfortable temperature levels, due in part to the sheer volume of its enclosure. However, its most notable advancement comes in the form of an innovative brise-soleil shading device which incorporates photovoltaic cells into the building’s skin. These cells not only generate electrical power for the structure and the city’s power grid, they also shield building users from direct sunlight. The cells aim to produce roughly 680,000 kWh per year and the building was the recipient of the 2012 Eurosolar Award for its innovative use of PV cells. In the same respect, the building won the 2013 European Steel Design Award as its metal structure was designed to harmoniously incorporate the PV cell system.

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Porta Susa TGV Station / Silvio d´Ascia" 04 Mar 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=481986>
  • Al

    It’s odd how the platforms for the trains seems to be put aside and separated from the glazed urban gallery/grand hall. It begs the question – is this a train station with shops, or a shopping centre with trains? There must be a more elegant way to reconcile commercial demands of the projects (presumably to offset capital costs)with the function of the station, rather than relegate the station – the “main port of entry” for Russian trains after all – to a carpark-like space under the main road?

  • george wu

    What a waste of material, to build such an expensive structure overhead just for keeping the rain out ! I have designed a structure over the Railway in a triangular fashion and inserting the cheap shipping containers and make affordable housing on a slope, a large ballroom space or open shopping decks is the a bonus ! My project is called Great Wall Village. George Wu, Artist/ Architect, AIA, NCARB 2014-4-15

  • george wu

    a wasteful design ! Not combining the expensive gallery with housing and commercial !