THE AREA IN FRONT OF THE TRAIN STATION IN THIS VILLAGE IN RENON HAS BEEN REDESIGNED AS A MEETING PLACE FOR RESIDENTS AND TOURISTS
Collalbo is one of many little villages that make up the municipality of Renon, to the northeast of Bolzano in Italy. Comprising a train station, a few houses, and a few roads that wind their way off through the surrounding mountains and vineyards, it’s a small community that’s frequently visited by tourists, who typically arrive by train.
Like any small village on a railroad line, the station square is a place of coming, going, and meeting for locals and tourists alike.
As part of the redesign of Collalbo’s mobility center – which comprises a bus station, car park, and a park-and-ride garage – Roland Baldi Architects also overhauled the square in front of the station, reinventing it as an open, inviting space.
Before the new square was built, anyone who got off the train in Collalbo was met by a fragmented, inefficient space comprising an asphalt road, a parking lot full of cars, and poorly planned flower beds. The project has transformed this square into a unified area that extends the perception of public space, while giving prominence to the elements that surround it, namely, the tracks and the station building to the northeast, and mountain views to the west.
Green and red porphyry pavers trace out alternating stripes on the pavement, the pattern interrupted here and there by seating areas with Swiss pine benches, and small green spaces planted with boxwoods, succulents, sedge bushes, and red maples. All the street furniture, from bins to bike racks and street lamps, are made of weathering steel with its typical rust color. A massive oak tree in front of the station bar has been preserved and continues to provide shade for bar patrons.
>>> Discover Collabo’s intermodal hub.
The rethinking of the square grew out of the village’s new mobility strategy. Natural stone humps at either end of the space force drivers to lower their speed, improving both safety and peace and quiet. A roundabout with kiss-and-ride parking was built just outside its edge.
Along with the square’s new appearance, the way it’s used by local people and tourists has changed. Now protected from through traffic, the square invites residents to come and meet up at the bar’s outdoor seating, while tourists can consult the information panel before heading off on an excursion.
In a small village like Collalbo, the redesign of the square is of real importance to the community, the space enhancing the potential of a familiar place, while adding quality and value to people’s everyday life.
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Location: Collalbo, Renon
Client: STA -Strutture Trasporti Alto Adige
Architects: Roland Baldi Architects
Area: 2.550 m²
Photography by Oskar Da Riz, courtesy of Roland Baldi Architects