“Urban and functional redevelopment of the Termini Bus Stop and Pubblic Sqauare: Piazza dei Cinquecento.”
Abstract | state of affairs
We are in Piazza dei Cinquecento, we are under the large canopy that marks the threshold of the Termini station, the privileged access to the city. This area today looks like an indefinite expanse in which bus and taxi traffic is the only protagonist of the scene, together with the flows of citizens and tourists who try to recognize the landmarks in a vain manner; on the right some fragments of the Servian Walls silently overlook the square, in the background, among the pine trees, you can glimpse an ancient building, surviving parts of the ancient Roman baths. Due to the overlapping of vehicular and pedestrian flows, the reading of the place is difficult to understand and this aspect confuses anyone who crosses it.
Concept | constraints and design guidelines
The compositional approach was driven by the necessity to mend the relations between the parts by rearranging this place full of historical and monumental values since ancient times. The first operation was to separate the vehicular flows from the pedestrian flows, with an excavation in which the new bus terminus area was located and private traffic was directed, decongested thanks to the inclusion of roundabout systems and the consequent elimination of most of the traffic lights in the area.
The design idea aims to resolve the various functional and social issues of the area with the design of a large plate capable of giving back a human dimension to the Piazza dei Cinquecento, redefining its edges and enhancing the accesses to areas of cultural interest through a network of routes with the aim of guiding the user within this unique node of the city of Rome.
Excavation | driveway separation
Termini station is the most important interchange hub of Rome and its metropolitan area, where both urban and regional connections, shuttle lines for Ciampino and Fiumicino Airport and Tourist Bus lines converge. The large urban area is currently conditioned by a spatial organization developed over time to pursue almost exclusively the functional needs related to public mobility; for this reason, in the first phase of the project has the aim to reorganize the entire public and private mobility system. The intervention involves positioning the bus terminus area at a lower level and consequently making pedestrian paths safe at high altitude, the connection of the new station with the accesses to the A and B lines of the subway, the elimination of the car parking area, the rearrangement of the area dedicated to “Kiss and Ride” and finally the remodeling of the green system that currently blocks each view towards historical and monumental buildings.
The project for the new bus terminus involves the insertion of a service area, and the positioning of different vertical connections capable of redistributing the large flow of users in the area.
The excavation for the construction of the bus terminus, points out also the external perimeter of the Baths of Diocletian, which had remained hidden for a long time under the presence of the actual bus terminus and pine trees. These ruins will be enhanced thanks to the design of a ramp toward the altitude of the ancient ruins, thus declaring the presentation of a site of great archaeological importance.
Plate | enhancement of pedestrian connections (inclined plane)
We are in an important place following the presence of the central station of Rome. To date, the arrival in the city is marked by a series of elements with an inorganic typology and location which defines an extremely fragmented and parceled urban environment: an extensive asphalted area that has progressively lost the dimension of the public space from a social and spatial point of view, resulting in a confused and heterogeneous frequentation which feeds the perception of insecurity, given by the lack of identity and unity of the place.
In order to give back a new, ordered and rich story to the area, in the analysis it was decided to use a single continuous element. The large roof has the dual function of covering the excavation by delimiting a covered and open environment with particular attention to the zenith lighting of the hypogeal area and ensuring the physical continuity of the station body with the Baths of Diocletian and the Palazzo Massimo, directing the pedestrian flows and enhancing the thresholds of access to these architectural elements. On the side where the Servian Walls emerge, the taxi area will be resized in order to restore the continuity of the pedestrian space under the large station canopy and near the ancient remains, the taxi traffic is brought to an altitude slightly lower than the roof and is delimited by a solid parapet capable of restoring the overall view of the archaeological emergency. Thanks to a slight difference in height, this new design element ensures the possibility of delimiting the extension of the Piazza dei Cinquecento giving it a human and comfortable dimension.
Parterre | physical and functional organization of the public space
With the aim of creating new squares and areas that encourage socialization and aggregation, new pedestrian spaces adequately sized with respect to the functions and flows were identified. The redevelopment of this large area is also oriented through the relocation of some commercial activities (tourist stands, newspaper kiosks and restaurant area) and above all with the removal of architectural barriers in the organization of pedestrian flows; leaving the possibility of including functions of a temporary nature.
The project involves the use of flooring in natural materials (travertine, flint) and for the arrangement of green areas proposes the use of local vegetation species able to participate in the absorption of polluting emissions, also favouring sufficient evapotranspiration, in order to guarantee an adequate microclimate, with the aim of increasing the vegetation system of the area. In addition, in the design choices there are technical solutions for the reuse of rainwater which, by means of accumulation systems, can be used for the irrigation of the areas greens.
The environmental issue becomes central with the promotion of sustainable mobility and with a progressive reduction of the levels of private traffic in favour of collective vehicles so that the physical dimensions of the car can no longer alter the landscape and the available space: Strong implementation of the tram network, a development program for a wide cycle network, reorganization of traffic on Via Giolitti, via Marsala and in the project areas, arrangement of areas for Gran Turismo Bus, sidewalks, pedestrianisation of Largo di Villa Peretti and a part of via D'Azeglio and, finally, the redesign of Independence Square.