The Solar Park South International design competition awarded French firms OFF architecture , PR Architect and Samuel Nageotte for their entry called Verical Villages in Calabria, Italy. The competition played with the theme of a ‘Solar Highway’, re-using sections of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway soon to be decommissioned by the Italian Highways Authority. The redevelopment of the viaduct section of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria highway was carefully considered by the architects for each of its components in order to best integrate the project with the site’s potential. The fundamental question posed by the competition is that of the readaptation of such sites and the possibilities of atypical redevelopment socially, culturally and economically for the region.
OFF Architecture, PR Architect and Samuel Nageotte propose a reappropriation of the viaducts into residential, leisure and health centers that take on a typology that rises out of the context and the goal of environmentally conscious development. The project was heavily influenced by the primary observable characterists of the site. The Calabre region has one of the most stable climates in the world and is located in a variety of natural habitats among human interventions.
The viaducts as they exist today have well connected roads that were once main thoroughfares, built for heavy traffic and higher-than-normal live loads on the bridges. The ‘pile & deck’ construction of the bridge uses as little material as possible to span its distance, thus making it efficient with little impact on the landscape. The Tyrrhenian Sea can be observered from the viaduct, as well as the natural context of the land. This site is also located near Mt. Etna, which is an active volcano and has strong geothermic potential on the site. Calabre attracts are large migratory population, looking both to tour and settle the area. The site and its distinct qualities provide an opportunity to develop an infastructure to accomodate this kind of migration, which largely feature European retirees from outside Italy seeking a better quality of life.
The inspired form for the “Vertical Village” arose out of the viaducts morphology, particularly the piles of the struction. The deck therefore becomes the reinforcement of these residential areas through commercial spaces, equipment, medical centres and leisure spaces. The construction of the architecture is intended to reinforce the viaduct’ existing architectural form in order to keep the impact upon the landscape itself to minimum. This project aims to participate to the evolution of the original viaducts in order to consolidate their original identity.
The project will appear as a contemporary archaeological contribution to the existing construction that will wrap around the existing one and restructures it in order to give it a new breath. The upper part of one of the viaducts deck will inhabit a pedestrian “promenade” nonetheless for the others the deck will remain as traffic road in order to respect the existing paths of the city. The communion of the infrastructure within its landscape should be sufficient to establish a first-class quality of life along with a responsible response to the environment.
SCHEDULE / COSTS a) Project development Architectural studies, structural studies b) First phase: 2011 / Preparation (10 %) Infrastructure restoration Deck reparation Structural Diagnostic c) Second phase: 2011-2015 / Networks (20 %) Road Transformation Columns and foundations reinforcement Seaside Decks Landscape constrcution Artistical interventions. d) Third phase: 2011-2015 / Water & Energy (30 %) Networks Installation (electrical and sanitary) Geothermal power plant (European Grant + Private investment) e) Fourth phase: 2013-2015 / Programatic structure creation (30 %) f) Fifth phase: 2015-2025 / Colonization (10 % + Private Investment) Housing development Commercial development Public Facility development via Bustler