Stefano Boeri Architetti
2017 - 2018
Feasibility study; Concept, developed and technical design for Architectural Project, Structural and Plant Engineering
Underground surfaces station: 1,956 sqm, tunnel length of the station: 130 m, Surfaces above ground station building: 472 sqm, external area of the station: 2,180 sqm, external area of intervention: 7,800 sqm
Consulants Studio Laura Gatti (botanic consultant); SCE Project srl (Structural Engineering), ESA enginering (Plant Engineering), GAD (Controll cost)
Project team Stefano Boeri (founding partner), Marco Giorgio (project director), Maddalena Maraffi (project leader)
Team: Bogdan Peric, Esteban Marquez, Elisabetta Zuccala, Daniele Barillari
In addition to the technological modifications the project focuses on the aesthetic and functional redevelopment of the FAL Matera Central railway station, one of the three along the Bari-Matera route serving the city. The existing building consists of a main section above ground built in 1982, and a tunnel dug in 1978 to house the railway line that passes under a long urban section. In order to give it greater importance, the station is no longer to be considered purely as an infrastructural node but rather as a true urban landmark in harmony with the Matera’s forthcoming role as the 2019 European Capital of Culture. The structure is thus directly connected to the pedestrian Piazza della Visitazione, redesigned and linked to the main routes for access to the nearby historic old town and can be considered an authentic “gateway” to the city, both for local users and for visitors arriving from different parts of Italy.
Notable for the presence of public buildings and high levels of accessibility, the square also has a central position in relation to important green areas of the city and this makes it a potential hub for a larger urban and regional public green network.
The design of the new station sees the square as an essential connection and focal point for the ecological, cultural and traffic systems that are already present while the design of the new square re-interprets the existing urban fabric and proposes a new matrix as a defining element or grid, giving rise to a succession of paved surfaces alternating with strips of new vegetation in varying lengths. The only exceptions to break the regularity of this mesh are the pre-existing elements such as the routes in the direction of the “Sassi” neighbourhood and five “clearings” i.e. areas with different densities that change according to size and function.
The new arrangement of the green public spaces fits perfectly into the context since they dialogue with the borders defined by the infrastructure and the different levels through a system of green embankments that vary in thickness and density along the perimeter.
Here we find the project’s outstanding feature: a shimmering metal roof of 45 m x 35 m supported by columns which generates a covered square accessible to travellers and residents alike. A large rectangular opening, with an extension of about 440 square metres creates an interaction between the under- and over-ground sections of the station, introducing fresh air and natural light.
To go into greater detail the Bari-Matera railway line is part of the Appulo Lucane Railways network and is the only one currently operating in the city of Matera as well as being the most direct connection with the nearby Bari-Palese airport. This infrastructure is currently underutilized but is undergoing a major refurbishment with a view to becoming the main transport route for the influx of tourists expected to arrive in Matera in 2019.
Of minimal interest from the architectural point of view, the existing building is connected by a path open to the elements that leads to two stairways going down to the underground level. This consists of a tunnel about 160 m long and ranging from 8 to 12 m in width. In the wider sections, this space houses an unused service track plus the one in operation which is narrow gauge and with access to the platform on the South side which is in turn directly connected to the station above. Currently dark and inhospitable, devoid of services and little used as a public space, the tunnel will be transformed through the large opening created in the roof, which will introduce natural light and air to the below-ground environments.
Compared to the current building, the new Station will be constructed in a position closer to via Aldo Moro in such a way as to be able to use the current connecting stairways to the existing underground level, although with the reconstructed ramps reversing the direction of ascent. Thanks to a similarly reversed system, the platform on the North side can be used by waiting travellers while leaving the South side platform for services and as an emergency exit. The new spatial arrangement, combined with the removal of the service track will make it possible to obtain a more spacious area for getting on and off trains and able to handle a much higher number of travellers.
The building will be able to accommodate all the functions necessary for an optimal logistic operation with the aim of expanding the service areas available to travellers, improving quality and making them suitable for a greater number of users. An entrance hall with a ticket office of about 80 square metres, an office and staff toilets, a waiting room of about 110 square metres and toilets for travellers will also be created.
On an aesthetic level, great attention has been paid to the main material used for the façades, in this case slabs of locally quarried stone. The construction system is based on multi-layer panels obtained by the coupling of a 12 mm stone covering with a layer of lightened material of the same thickness. The design of the wall is thus defined by the pattern of the panels, interspersed with a number of connecting points highlighted by their density and a series of full height backlit glass modules. The South façade will maintain perfect continuity with the below ground facade facing the platform and flush with the opening in the roof above.
As a striking new urban landmark for Matera 2019, the roof shelter in the square is highly noticeable on account of its intrados, made using partially reflecting metal panels which thanks to the “diamond-style” geometry provide a fragmented vision of the surrounding urban space, offering new perspectives, plays of lights and surprising reflections. The completely flat extrados will be partially covered by latest generation photovoltaic panels made entirely of glass, laid together and with siliconized joints in order to guarantee protection against rainwater. The twelve thin steel columns will rise from the “iron floor”, reach the height of the underground tunnel at about 6 ms and continue to a further 12 m above ground level, supporting the cover as if it were a large contemporary temple.