LOCATION Venice, Italy
YEAR 1991
STATUS 5th  international architetture exhibition  Biennale di Venezia Competition Awarded project
DESIGNERS Antonio Monestiroli
TEAM  Martina Landsberger, Raffaella Neri, Elisabetta Rimoldi, Giuseppe Rossi, Giacomo Tutucci

The issue addressed as a priority is the definition of the character of the new Rome Square. The call for bids confirms that Piazzale Roma will be the terminal for public and private automobile lines. A confirmation of the current function as an interchange between road and waterborne traffic. By accepting this choice, which is certainly realistic and therefore without questioning the entire transportation program in the Venetian area, we have tried to give meaning and form to a place that is now used irrationally and lacks a representative form. The main element of the intervention is the bus station, which like the adjacent buildings intended for parking will be an important technological infrastructure. Piazzale Roma is thus confirmed as the place of infrastructure intended for road traffic, the relationship of which with the urban fabric must be defined.

The desire to find a specific form to the point of arrival to the historic center and the vocation of Piazzale Roma to be a place of meeting and exchange suggested the idea of the “field” in which the different types of traffic converge, navigable, automobile, pedestrian. A field conceived in analogy with the existing fabric, able to evoke with its form its destination and at the same time the values of the context to which it belongs. The field will be bordered to the south by the new bus station, to the north by the new building curtain facing the Grand Canal, to the east by the Rio Nuovo gardens, and to the west it will be open to the access road from the mainland. Its elevation will be brought back to the level of the banks of the Grand Canal distinguishing the new urban system from the construction at the artificial elevation established by the automobile bridge, which is that of the current Piazzale Roma. The architecture of the field is defined by a long porticoed building that is the head of the bus station (in which are located waiting rooms, bars, luggage storage on the ground floor and rooms for all those activities inherent to a station such as bookstores, newsstands, spaces for small traveling exhibitions on the upper floor) and four buildings arranged according to the bend of the Grand Canal that contain offices for the transport company, the terminal for the airport, offices of the city police, carabinieri, first aid, bars, and toilets. Between these buildings a series of short, narrow streets connect the field with the Grand Canal, establishing a direct functional and visual relationship with the waterways. All the buildings, two stories (10 m) high, are built according to a single principle: a perimeter wall on three sides in exposed brick, and a front defined by two overlapping orders of iron pillars. The field therefore will be bounded by the iron and glass fronts that follow the course imposed by the shape of my site. In particular, the four buildings on the canal that contain public activities, all of them administrative in nature, are repeated identical to themselves following the curve of the bank. They are four large double-height rooms with an intermediate gallery that allows one to recognize the unity of the interior space lit by the glass window on the field and a single large window on the canal. These buildings, intended to resemble the many warehouses found in Venice and in this area in particular, help to define the character of the intervention that is characteristic of the functional places of a large mercantile city. Therefore, poor materials such as exposed brick, painted iron, etc. were chosen. The parking garage functions in a ring. It contains 40 coaches protected by a large iron roof that follow lanes reserved for them and do not cross either pedestrian traffic or that of cabs or private cars. The station is accessed pedestrianally through a system of stairs and elevators that lead directly to the passenger platforms. Also through an underpass it is possible to reach the existing garages from the field. On the east side of the garage is the lane for transit coaches, on the west side the parking space for cabs and private cars. Thus the field is traversed only by pedestrians, a crossing place for the interchange of different means of transportation but also a place of arrival and parking that has the morphological characters of many similar places existing in Venice. The front on the Grand Canal, dodging the temptation to want to evoke “a gateway to Venice,”” will be distinguished by its four identical but distinct buildings, separated by narrow access roads, each signaled not only by its own geometry but also by its large window on the canal. The gardens on the Rio Nuovo are maintained and expanded; they form one side of the field from which the historic city can be reached on foot. On the side open to the automobile front a small building is placed, as if to stop, at that point, vehicular traffic. In this building the photographic map of Venice can be displayed to the public.


Massimo Ferrari (edit by) Antonio Monestiroli Opere, progetti e studi di architettura Electa Milan 2001