- Roland Baldi Architects redesigns the Collalbo station square in Bolzano
The new square located in front of the station welcomes users, residents and tourists, with great elegance. "Here tourists can find an information board that allows them to orient and organise themselves for the numerous excursions available in the area or to meet with friends at the tables of the station café", the architects explain. To transform it into a hub of the town’s life, Roland Baldi Architects redesigned the area in front of the station, first of all removing the pre-existing road with a parking lot. Where once the urban space was dominated by cars, now the focus is on humans. Only residents are allowed to cross the area, but slowly.
Among the attentive design solutions adopted by the architects, we find natural stone speed bumps at the two ends of the square, which remind drivers of the speed limit, ensuring the safety and tranquility of the area. A roundabout offering a few parking spaces was built just before the new square. This space functions as a “kiss and ride” area intended for quick stops, to accompany someone to the station and then leave again.
Let’s take a closer look at the project, starting with the pavement of the square, created in alternating strips in green and red porphyry cubes. This natural stone carpet covers the entire front of the beautiful station structure, extending all the way to the platforms. The different strips of porphyry are partly interrupted by small green areas or by seating. The flower beds are planted with boxwood, succulents, sedge bushes and red maples. In several points, the paving stones rise and form rest areas enriched with pine seating. The furnishing elements such as bins, bicycle racks and street lamps, have been created in corten steel with a typical rust colour. The impressive oak tree in front of the station café, on the other hand, has been left untouched and continues to provide a cool shade for the café’s customers, offering an ideal meeting point in town.
Despite the many changes adopted, both internal and external, architect Robert Baldi also wanted to keep not only nature but also art intact. This includes the bronze sculpture by artist Franz Messner: a goat peeking at some sparrows – also cast in bronze – through its mirror, which have recently started chirping from the roof of the station: "See you in the Square!"
The refurbishment of the square in Collalbo by Roland Bald Architects demonstrates the great transformative power that these so-called minor projects can actually have when it comes to the perception and livability of a city. Indeed, it’s wonderful to see that even in the absence of major architectural interventions, a beautiful and innovative space can be created, which becomes a pioneer of change.
Project: Roland Baldi Architects
Location: Collalbo, Italy
Images: Oskar da Riz