REFURBISHMENT OF PIAZZA UNGHERIA – Torvaianica, Pomezia
The project is located in the main square of Torvaianica and is part of a series of interventions promoted by the City Council aimed at the redevelopment of the city and the redefinition of a new image of the “Pometino” coast. The town has a strong history. It is believed that centuries ago exactly on these shores, by the banks of the river Numicus, landed Enea. In the 1960’s, it was one of the most famous seaside resorts of Rome. Nevertheless, it has slowly undergone a gradual decline due to excessive urbanization and the lack of conservation of the beautiful adjacent beach. Despite this decline, Piazza Ungheria has been the principal meeting place for the inhabitants and the only recognizable aggregation point for the community.
Three strategic zones have been renovated: Piazza Ungheria and Piazza del Belvedere (under construction), the square in front of the Church of Immaculate Virgin and the square next to Piazza Ungheria.
These places represent the heart of the town. Due to time and neglect of its users, these have been subject to a gradual deterioration: damaged or missing furniture and lack of lighting. The result of the misuse separated the feeling of community and made it impossible to enjoy these spaces.
The design intent of NOS Design Studio together with the City Council guidelines has been to ensure that the squares gained back their distinctive character. The key aspect through the new design was to give a strong sense of belonging and re-appropriation by its community.
In order, not to overload the existing context already full of accidental buildings, it was decided to focus the design on a new system of street furniture that would capture the users’ at eye level.
The first design operation has been to define the edges of the squares to give a sense of centrality and protection and to freely use the internal spaces. This was achieved by the careful selection of a furniture model: a sitting with an integrated LED lighting system that generates a backdrop light. This would define the space devoted to interaction in a sosphisticated way. The glow of the furniture, almost grazing the ground, contrasts the existing lighting system and enhances the existing spaces.
The square in front of the Church of Immaculate Virgin has become a true “island for social interaction”. It is now characterized by an assorted furniture system with varying morphologies that in a sort of “crescendo” composition goes from clear and defined shapes (illuminated benches along the margins) to curvilinear and soft shapes (shaped stone benches and flower pots placed in the middle).
The new design on Piazza Ungheria focuses along the margins of the square. This layout emphasizes the central perspective axis towards Piazza Belvedere Square and the sea horizon. The LED backdrop lights coming from the new seating system together with the new paved concrete strips contribute to the definition of the square.
The design intention for the third square in front of Piazza Ungheria was also to arrange the seating system along the edges to define an internal intimate space that would communicate with the proximate commercial activities inviting the users to have a rest and enjoy the landscape. The only vertical signs to the “theatrical” setting are the oval-shaped rounded prisms arranged between the seating area which are actually the new litterbins.
Another design choice, always addressed to foster social interaction and the regeneration of the spaces, has been to design a seating system which does not have a specific direction. For example, the illuminated benches do not have backrest support and the oval stones may be used in various ways: sit, rest, play, skip and be creative!
Since the project is on the seaside and subject to strong weather conditions, the choice of colors has been to use the colour white. Infact, all the new furniture system is white in order not to overheat in the summer. The same logic has been applied to the choice of materials: ultra high performance concrete (UHPC) maintain the objects’ surfaces very clean, strong and soft, encouraging the passerby to stop and use the furniture.
USE: Public Space SIZE: 5000 MQ PLACE: Torvaianica, Roma YEAR: 2015-2016 MISSION: Urban Re-Generation,Re-Vitalization, Light