October 14 saw the inauguration of the new electrical station in Capri designed by the Frigerio Design Group for Terna, the company that manages Italy’s high-voltage and ultra-high voltage electricity grid. Working in a unique landscape of great environmental and cultural importance, the world-famous island of Capri, was a challenge of great interest to the architects.
The new Capri station links the island’s electrical line with the mainland through a new undersea and underground cable, offering environmental and economic benefits for the community and permitting dismantling of the old diesel-fuelled power plant. The island now has a more reliable, safer electricity grid, supplying clean energy from renewable sources and cutting polluting CO2 emissions by about 130 thousand tonnes a year.
Geometry, greenery and light are the elements around which architect Enrico Frigerio and his studio developed the project, which fits discretely into the landscape and makes the new electrical station an elegant construction in harmony with its natural surroundings.
The area the project is constructed on, located above Marina Grande, measures a total of about 2,700 square metres and is surrounded by the Mediterranean scrub characteristic of the island’s steep, rocky slopes. The specific features of the site inspired the architects of the Frigerio Design Group, who used materials, geometries and details of construction to evoke the abundance of light characterising this enchanting natural scenario, underlined by a lighting project based on LED technology and oriented toward reducing light pollution while making the station a beautiful landmark at night.
The project’s layout is determined by the unusual orography of the site, where limestone crags become containing walls or buildings, with lush vegetation mitigating their visual impact on the landscape. Well-planned landscaping included selection of species typical of the Mediterranean scrub to reduce the need for maintenance and permit the plants to grow spontaneously over the years.
Just as the landscaping is inspired by the Mediterranean setting, the façades of the buildings are inspired by the typical colours of Capri, while the quality and finishes of the materials and the carefully designed details declare the construction’s industrial nature. Taking the harsh, aggressive environmental conditions typical of a seaside location into account (salt air, humidity and UV rays, to mention only a few), the architects chose materials and finishes that eliminate or limit the need for maintenance. They took great care in the management of the construction site, using lightweight and heavy prefabricated elements to simplify the work and cut the cost of building on an island, reusing certain items of scrap. Examples include the plates inserted directly into the formworks of the concrete buffer panels, which came from the scrap from construction of the modular panels of burnished brass used in the railings and fences.
Facts & Figures
Client: TERNA Rete Italia S.p.A.
Location: Capri, Naples Italy
Date: 2012 – 2018
Surfaces: area 3000 m2; buildings 1000 m2
Architects: Frigerio Design Group
Team Enrico Frigerio with Carola Ginocchio, Fabio Valido, Federico Biassoni, Daniele Bona, Daniela Galletti, Emanuela Masala, Giulia Pasqualini Galliani, Anna Tsareva
Structures: Protel – Ing. Carmine Mascolo
General Contractor EDILDOVI S.r.l.
Prefabricated structures: Beton Costruzioni S.p.A.
Metal Carpentry: Cerrato Officine S.r.l.
Photos: Enrico Cano