The project is a permeable and adaptive device with the objective to address the theme of harbour architectures in both formal and functionals terms. The solution is focused on the simplicity, versatility and dynamicity of the structures included in the topic.
We decided to use a symbolic picture that has embodied the deepest archetype contained in the call for tender, the drawing of a new threshold bordering between nature and architecture. This picture is represented by the italic deity, Janus Bifrons, protector of gateways. This classical god therefore becomes the mysterious iconic representation of this space full of meaning and fraught with tension and hope. Janus, as a matter of fact, presides over every beginning, access and border, both tangible and intangible. Janus is the beginning of each new undertaking, of human life and economic life, of historic time and of the mythical one, of religion, of the gods themselves, of the world, of humanity, of the civilization and of the institutions.
The proposal offers a method of approach that interprets the project as collector and propeller of a new and innovative system relating the city and the harbour. Not two separates premises isolated and independent of each other, but a single ‘structure’ built from the paths and plots reconnecting the city with the sea.
The design of the new waterfront of Palermo crowning the area of greatest permeability of the complex harbour system is structured in three conceptual ways, which are different and interconnected:
The interface device translates in formal and dynamic terms the concept of a ‘Bifrons’ organism placed on the threshold of the city, gateway and place of mediation between the harbour urban area systems.
The interaction between the city and the harbour is embodied by a system of public areas and gardens that outline the threshold on the road by making it permeable and enjoyable. It generates new sight lines thanks to the intersection of the axes of the urban fabric and a new urban landscape. The services planned for that area have indeed been shifted to a higher elevation, accessible by catwalks and vertical routes. Furthermore, the elevated level is characterised by terraces that link the city with the sea. The part of the project located at an elevation of + 7.00 creates a new part of the city. Furthermore, both sides of the interface, are shaded by a brise-soleil cover system. This system defines new available areas to the citizens, thanks also to the presence of mixed functions. The elevated paths of the interface, located at the same level as the urban level, lean towards the buildings of the marine station and of the two new terminals trough three walkways. These connect the interface device with the harbour facilities, considered as new ‘presences’ of the city of Palermo.
The terminal ro-ro brings the qualities of the interface device to the scaled-down dimensions of the building. In the distributive-functional plan, it is divided ideally based on the height in two sections, one for public purposes and the other for private ones. As a matter of fact, given the complex functional program, the former would include a new city on the sea comprising facilities, paths and productive functions, while the latter would include all the facilities that ensure the normal flow of the passenger traffic of the ro-ro.
Both the ‘faces’ are located around a square at +7.00 of elevation (the new urban plan where all pedestrian flow is relocated). The square is covered to ensure protection against the sunshine and bad weather.
The square is connected with all the system of paths. This system continues uninterrupted from the city until the Piave pier, where a spacious garden constitutes the end of this trip, that is not merely ideal anymore, between city and sea.
The design described previously and the logic behind it affected, in part, the distributive scheme of the terminal cruise building. This terminal has the objective to redevelop the complex system of the trapezoidal pier. This is achieved because the terminal is the aggregator of the historical and archaeological infrastructures located in the area, both ancient (The castle on the sea) and modern (new project on the trapezoidal pier). The terminal is therefore interpreted as transept between the ancient core of the city and the new coastal hub of Palermo.
The building is presented as the door of the city, first access capable of linking a sequence of stunning natural and urban skyline (mount Gifrone, Monrale, the fishing village with the ancient dock…), to the system of paths that are directed towards the harbour itself.
VALLE 3.0 is a company born from a spin-off of Studio Valle Progettazioni, and focuses mainly on Architecture, Civil Engineering and Urban planning.
Emanuela, Maria Camilla and Silvano Valle along with their father Gilberto, start Valle 3.0 in 2016, a Company of Architecture, oriented towards technological and environmental innovation. After years of experience, history and tradition we are ready to tackle with our usual passion and with the same skills, new challenges in new future scenarios.
VALLE 3.0 provides comprehensive solutions in the fields of planning, architecture, interior design, engineering, construction, project management and on-site supervision services. Carlo Prati, Designer partner for the Palermo New Port Competition, is Graduated Summa cum Laude at University of Rome "La Sapienza” were from 2005 is Ph.D graduated in Architectural Design. From 2019 is Reserch Fellow of Architecture at Department of Architecture, D'Annunzio University of Chieti–Pescara.