Stefano Boeri Architetti
Project 2009-2011, Construction 2011-2012
Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Mestre, Turin, Salerno, Padua, Italy
NTV Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori spa Mobiliario; Furniture contractor: Cassina
Stefano Boeri (Founding partner), Michele Brunello (Project director), Marco Brega (Coordinator), Davide Rapp (Project leader), Kristina Drapic, Marco Giorgio, Luca Moscelli, Angela Parrozzani, Chiara Quinzii, Stefano Baseggio, Isabella Gaetani, Maddalena Maraffi, Giuseppe Porcelli, John Valencia
Concept and interaction design: dotdotdot,
Graphic design: 46xy,
Architectural design Salottobuono,
Technical feasibility and calculation: Andrej Mikuz,
Plant design: Ferrari & Brocajoli SRL
Rail travel today is a fluid experience of space and time, a non-stop continuum between departure and arrival, decision and movement, waiting times and the actual journey. The Casa.italo project, winner of a competition launched in early 2009 by the private transport company NTV (Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori), is aimed at making this concept tangible: the company image, the services offered, and the underlying principles are integrated to constitute the architectural object while the different surfaces that accommodate the flux and transit of passengers are transformed into an interactive and communicative interface that defines both the space within existing stations and the different forms of use.
The interactive nature of the project creates different forms of contact between user and space, a relation that is defined by the individual traveler and his or her own requirements. In this way the project acts as a device that can be used at different speeds; rapidly from the outside – to buy tickets and check schedules – and more leisurely within the interior where more time is required yet more services are also provided.
The exterior of the enclosing wall contains large LCD monitors and ticket vending machines that, together with the company’s characteristic red train profile, a large clock, and LED strip display, enable travelers to rapidly recognize Casa.italo within the station. From the interior the wall becomes a dense, multi-function, high-tech element that maintains the flow of information from the outside yet enhances it with additional services for the traveler: web navigation units, magazine and leaflet distribution, fold-down seating, litter bins and all of the technological systems needed for the different service units are built into the thickness of the perimeter wall. Proximity sensors detect human presence transforming simple information panels into automatic ticket machines – and vice-versa – in a dynamic environment capable of changing according to each traveler’s requirements.
The components that form the straight-wall perimeter of Casa.italo are part of an “alphabet” of modular units which can be used to create spaces with maximum flexibility, allowing for different compositions as well as future enlargements. The modularity of the system makes it possible to provide a balance of services and equipment in the various stations, both those in which only a minimum area is available, and those that are larger and already have more services available for travelers. Circular programmatic islands which travelers can circulate or use freely: an info desk (providing information for travelers), relaxation armchairs for personal or group use, and wifi tables for online navigation and energy supply for personal electronic equipment complete the elements of the unit.
Twelve train stations on the high-speed service lines – Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice, Mestre, Turin, Salerno and Padua – will host the Casa.italo structures programmed to be completed by May of 2012.