The site is located in the suburbs of Bisceglie, a medium size city of about 55.000 inhabitants and with a density of 800person/kmq, located in the region of Puglia in Southern Italy. The project is in the center of a new residential neighborhood of recently constructed affordable housing of 3, 4 and 5 stories with very few commercial activities on the ground floor. The new quarter is built adjacent to railway tracks of a local line connecting several small cities, in an area with no significant historical or landscape values to be preserved and left partially incomplete due to the recent economic crisis. The starting point of the intervention was a leftover site, left open and therefore used by the local contractors as a temporary deposit for construction materials and wastes of the building activities around it.
AIM OF THE INTERVENTION
The intervention proposed is part of the winning project of a design competition for the construction of a new nursery school and public plaza, organized by the City of Bisceglie as part of the “Qualità Italia” program promoted and partially financed by the MiBAC – Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. The works carried out have been financed with public funds coming from local tax revenue paid by building contractors and private owners for the urban development works.
The project aims are:
- To regenerate the suburb and the interstitial spaces;
- To provide convivial urban spaces to promote social interactions of residents of all ages;
- To promote a sense of belonging and the participation of the residents in the life of the new neighborhood;
- To promote environmental education of citizens ;
- To make a sustainable and environmentally sensitive public project.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INTERVENTION
The project is in an area surrounded by residential buildings and it is made of two parts: a fully public area and a semi-public area.
The fully public area of about 4000sqm is made up of:
- a central area (hard-scape) in the North, left empty and designed as a flexible space to host public and un-programmed public events, with a drainable pavement made of blocks of different tones of grey laid on sand;
- one lateral areas in the North/West side (soft-scape) plated with 40 oak trees on a drainable surfaces with gravel of different colours and within two areas paved with cement and marked with colorful playground games for children;
- one lateral area in the North/East side (soft-scape) planted with 30 oak trees on a drainable surfaces with gravel of different colours, within an additional area paved with anti-trauma rubber tiles and with several outdoor games for children;
- the sidewalks in the East, South, and West sides, along the metal fences around the recently built kindergarten school that have been decorated with an artistic installation made in collaboration with the designers and the local residents;
The semi-public area of about 1600 sqm is made of:
- a U-shaped property fenced-off around the recently built kindergarten, designed with urban orchards and devices for planting vegetables and with local fruit trees, with limited access to all residents for participation in school activities programs.
The results are very positive, the neighborhood that was before used just as a “dormitory” now has a new life. Due to LED public lights and thanks to the energy from renewable sources (produced by 40KW of photovoltaic panels in the roof of the kindergarten and stored in 30KW of batteries) all public spaces listed above are properly lit all night long, giving sense of security and promoting the use of public space until late. Social interaction and convivial opportunities by residents are encouraged through the presence of picnic tables, benches, fountains and mostly through the rich offering of outdoor games for children. The drainable pavements and the trees planted on the site helps to reduce heat island effects and all the material used on site are coherent with a sustainable design approach. The neighborhood residents, parents and grandparents joined together and collaborated to decorate the fence around the school with an artistic installation to give a sense belonging. The designer hopes that soon also the urban orchards and the public and semi-public green areas of the kindergarten school will become more and more public, promoting the community involvement and the participation of local residents and breaking cultural traditional definition of public and private space.
“PERALTA – design&consulting”, is an award winning practice specialized in the design of public and private architecture, interior design, urban and landscape design with a specific interest in experimentation and application of environmentally sensitive technologies. The studio has an internal staff of architects and engineers and, along with a network of important consultants and collaborators in Italy and abroad, has successfully collaborated on many projects. Luca Peralta, the founder and the director, is a registered engineer and architect: member of the Italian Association of Building and Environmental Engineers and the Architects Registration Board of London, UK.