Stefano Boeri Architetti, Metrogramma Milano and Inside Outside win the competition for the Parco del Ponte in Genoa, the Polcevera Park

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“A Red Steel Circle. A ring that embraces – passing under the new bridge – an area made of iron, water, cement, and asphalt.

The “Red Circle” symbolizing the powerful local tradition of blast furnaces, cranes, and overhead cranes, runs along with the locations where the tragedy of 14 August 2018 occurred.

It embraces them without separating them from their context, linking them together, […] joining the separate sections through bike/pedestrian path and distributing the renewable energy generated by the solar collectors – thermal and photovoltaic – located on the roofs of the buildings, by the Wind Tower and by the piezoelectric flooring (which symbolically contribute to the energy balance) converting into energy the traffic flows that run through the new Bridge and the Circle.

Energy and movement that flow into the Wind Tower” .

This is how Stefano Boeri, group leader of the team that won the competition, opens the presentation that summarises the key points of the project.

The Riverfront, the Red Circle and the Wind Tower (© The Big Picture, courtesy by SBA)
The Riverfront, the Red Circle and the Wind Tower (© The Big Picture, courtesy by SBA)

The urban project, named “The Polcevera Park and The Red Circle” has been thought out as a system of parks with different ecologies and infrastructures for sustainable mobility and smart buildings for R&D and manufacturing with the aim of reversing the current image of the Polcevera valley, from a complex and tragically devastated place to a territory of sustainable innovation for the rejuvenation of Genoa itself.

The Red Steel Circle – a symbolic element and embodiment of the “urban sewing” of the two sides of the valley – develops changing its nature: it becomes a walkway, a raised square, an access and exit ramp, a corridor between the buildings or an underground path and connects all the different territories, highlighting the great urban botanical park: the Polcevera Park.

2_Il-Parco-del-Polcevera-e-il-Cerchio-Rosso_Vista-aerea-dell'area-di-progetto-∏-The-Big-Picture
Aerial View of the project area (© The Big Picture, courtesy by SBA)

A new regenerated site that will run under the new bridge, designed by Renzo Piano to replace the Morandi Bridge that mostly collapsed in August 2018 causing a tragic accident and several deaths.

“Rebuilding from an architectural and urban point of view but above all from a social point of view. For this reason, the rebirth called for a project that first and foremost would be a hymn to life.

4_Parco-del-Polcevera,-lato-Ovest-Parco-dell'acqua,-Fun-Park,-Giardino-Mediterraneo-e-Giardino-delle-Esposizioni-∏-The-Big-Picture
Polcevera Park, West side: Water Park, Fun Park, Mediterranean Garden and Expo Park (© The Big Picture, courtesy by SBA)

Joyful, with quality services, designed primarily for people, people who live and work there. We strongly wanted the vision to embody the colours and scents of the Mediterranean, of which Genoa is a symbol in the world.

In fact, the goal is to rebuild a cohesive urban system, socially active, innovative so as to revitalize not just the area but also the neighbouring ones by turning it into an attraction. The architectural project proposed consists of the design of World Buildings that is large clusters of buildings with a multi-functional role and a streamlined yet recognisable architectural language.

Wind Tower and the new Station (© The Big Picture, courtesy by SBA)
Wind Tower and the new Station (© The Big Picture, courtesy by SBA)

Inspired by industrial architecture and the blue colour of the Mediterranean, the new buildings are built with sustainable materials and the large roofs offer surfaces for the production of renewable energy.

The buildings open up to the park and are intersected and connected by the Red Circle,” adds Andrea Boschetti, founding partner of Milan-based Metrogramma.

The Red Steel Circle is first and foremost a relationship-building structure: it is a bike-pedestrian road 1570 meters long, 6 meters wide and 250 meters in diameter, equipped with a 120-meter-high Wind Tower for the production and distribution of renewable energy that connects the district just in front of the new station.

6_Il-Parco-del-Polcevera-e-il-Cerchio-Rosso_Il-Riverfront-e-la-Green-Factory-∏-Renovatio-design
The Riverfront and the Green Factory (© Renovatio design, courtesy by Metrogramma)

The latter houses a system of wind turbines and belongs, like the Red Circle, to the new energy network of Polcevera created thanks to the contribution of the German firm Transsolar.

The Red Circle is part of a sustainable mobility grid where bike and pedestrian paths, smart mobility lanes, shared surfaces and intelligent parking spaces all come together inside a strategy developed with MIC | Mobility in Chain, with the goal of creating a safe public space on a human scale.

7_Il-Parco-del-Polcevera-e-il-Cerchio-Rosso_Il-Nuovo-Mercato-del-Quartiere-∏-Renovatio-design
The New Neighborhood Market (© Renovatio design, courtesy by Metrogramma)

The Polcevera Park, basically consists of a system of parks that gather in the overall vision the variety of plants and trees typical of the Mediterranean basin, designed by Inside Outside | Petra Blaisse and built with the contribution of agronomist and landscape designer Laura Gatti and geologist Secondo Antonio Accotto.

“The landscape project presents itself as a structure of parallel stripes that organises the entire site, giving rise to a botanical park where each strip, whose width varies from 7 to 20 meters and is marked by an aligned path, represents a different type of garden, thus increasing the degree of biodiversity of the entire area.

8_Il-Parco-del-Polcevera-e-il-Cerchio-Rosso_Parco-Del-Polcevera-un-nuovo-parco-botanico-urbano
Polcevera: a new botanic urban park

And of the experiences for the citizens through the typologies themselves and the equipment (it will be possible to use recreational, educational and socialisation areas as for playing sports, collecting flowers and fruits, using animal dedicated areas).

Running perpendicular to the linear gardens there is a further zigzag path that becomes the only connection between East and West until one reaches the Red Circle that intersects all the stripes and creates connections that were previously impossible, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to move everywhere with previously unimaginable ease.

The Red Circle, together with this system of paths puts available in a very efficient way all the green spaces and areas of the Park, giving to citizens and visitors an experience of the landscape that is both beautiful and intimate […].

plooevera park masterplan
Masterplan

All green areas and the squares will be created so as to absorb rainwater, extra water will be collected and used for irrigation and such. The efficiency of this new landscape does not only have a practical function such as the sustainability of the water management, but also embodies the symbolic value of Genoa’s comeback after the Morandi Bridge tragedy” .

These are the words used by Petra Blaisse and her Inside Outside Dutch studio to describe the Park. In the heart of the Park stands Genova in the wood: an art installation featuring 43 trees, designed by artist Luca Vitone, dedicated to the memory of the victims of the suddenly collapsed Morandi bridge as well as to the timeless memory of the pain and faults of mankind but, at the same time, a symbol of the indomitable strength of a city. “Each tree will be dedicated to a Ligurian figure from every period of the cultural scene from Montale to Pivano, Germi, Villaggio, Strozzi, Scanavino, Alberti all the way to Coppedé.

11_-“Genova-nel-bosco”

Figures that were born in the region or that have found in the region the right environment for their growth, individuals who, with their imagination, were able to contribute and export in the world the image of Genoa and Liguria.

Each name of the author will be hidden by its anagram that will give the title to the plant and it will be up to the visitor, as in any puzzle game, to discover the person to whom the tree is dedicated. Paths that can be freely explored inside the “Forest”, where benches with peculiar shapes, such as wheels or crosses make the perfect place to read and rest in the shade of the trees. Visitor’s curiosity will be satisfied by the botanical data sheets – symbolic – biographies that for each tree/author will have an explanation of the affinity, pairing and relations.

12_-Il-Parco-del-Polcevera-Parco-dell’acqua,-Fun-Park,-Giardino-Mediterraneo,-Giardino-delle-Esposizioni
Polcevera Park: Water Park, Fun Park, Mediterranean Garden and Expo Park

This information, with the related anagram solution, will be available through an app designed on 2 purpose for the project. Also, a library is planned dedicated to books on botany and on the authors who are protagonists of the Forest,” says the artist Luca Vitone.

The Parco del Polcevera will become a new centre: all around it, the district will be reborn, understood as a community of life, relationships and exchanges.

The BIC buildings in the Green Factory area, the New Forts and the ex Mercato Ovaivicolo become new hubs of productivity and innovation, essential ingredients for a sustainable rebirth also from the economic-financial point of view as studied in depth by H&A Associati. The project will be built through an open participatory process (for the month of October 2019), with the active involvement of the administration, inhabitants and other local stakeholders.

13_-La-nuova-palestra-del-quartiere-(©-Renovatio-design)
The New Neighborhood Gym (© Renovatio design)

Called “The Polcevera Table 2.0”, it will be a tool that will accompany all phases of the work, from the design to the construction, also using tools such as temporary structures for the start, implementation and finalization of the process, as defined in the tender by Temporiuso. “The Red Circle, the Tower, the World Buildings, and the Polcevera Park with its vital chromatic and botanical variety will act as Genoa’s welcome to the passers-by of the future – says Stefano Boeri – A welcome to the world that crosses it and reaches Genoa from a network of infrastructure that stretches from east to west connecting Italy to Europe, parks perched on vertical walls, workers and noblewomen, singerspoets and naval engineers.

A Superb City, even though it is afflicted by poignant melancholy; beautiful, even if in the harshness of its everlasting contradictions.

A city of steel and sea, sculpted by wind and tragedy, but always able to stand tall”.

14_-Il-Riverfront-e-la-piazza-della-Green-Factory-(©-Renovatio-design)
The Riverfront and the Green Factory square (© Renovatio design)

Project credits:
STEFANO BOERI ARCHITETTI (Group leader/urban projects)
Stefano Boeri (Founding Partner) con Sara Gangemi (Project leader), Moataz Faissal Farid (Senior architect), Francesca Pincella (Junior architect), Jacopo Colatarci (Junior architect)

METROGRAMMA MILANO (Architectural Design)
Andrea Boschetti (Founding Partner) con Francesco Betta (Technical Director), Arianna Piva (Project Leader), Andrea G. Bulloni (Architect), Anna Bartolaccio (Architect), Andrea Casazza (Architect), Andrea Roma (Architect)

INSIDE OUTSIDE | PETRA BLAISSE (Landscape Design)
Petra Blaisse (Founding Partner and lead designer) with Desirée Pierluigi (architect), Camilla Panzeri and with Jana Crepon (Partner and landscape project leader)

All images are courtesy of Stefano Boeri Architetti, Metrogramma Milano, Inside Outside | Petra Blaisse

More: Interview with Stefano Boeri,

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