Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Pini@Pigneto in Rome, Italy by GOMMAdesign
July 6th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: GOMMAdesign
The goal of the PontèPigneto competition was to gather ideas for a public space which could be energetically self-sufficient (through an intelligent use of form and technology) and elastic (capable to respond to fast urban transformations). The pedestrian bridge in Pigneto neighborhood – Rome, already an important node for the area, was chosen as the project’s location for his capability to become one of the iconic symbols of the neighborhood through a careful redevelopment.
The neighborhood’s name “Pigneto” comes from the presence of a long row of Maritime Pine trees, planted by the Caballini family along the wall of the eighteenth-century “villa Serventi”. In order to recall that image deeply carved in Pigneto’s historical memory and toponymy and integrate the project with continuity in the neighborhood’s imaginary, the “Maritime Pine tree” was chosen as the formal and structural inspiration for GOMMAdesign’s proposal, considering also that nature can provide the best inspirational role-models for energetically and socially sustainable design solutions.
Once identified the symbol around which people could aggregate, the main strategy was to promote the strengths and the most valuable features of the neighborhood. The cozy and intimate ambience of Pigneto, which looks more like a little village, rather than a piece of Roman suburbs, facilitates a sense of conviviality and sociality which is still one of the main trait of social life there.
For this reason, the square proposed here defines an intimate space, and takes inspiration from the image of a “yard” more than from the typology of “urban square”. The necessary safety barriers, on the edges of the square which overlook onto the railway, become the walls of this “urban room” and, although being visually permeable, suggest a more intimate use of the space.
The sensibility for a sustainable life-style appears in neighborhood’s daily activities: the widespread use of bicycles as means of transportation; the small-scale entrepreneurship naturally oriented toward efficiency, reuse and sustainability; the variety of events organized to spread the knowledge about these topics.
The most iconic elements of the project, the photovoltaic Pinetrees, catch this vibe and are built with simple and reused materials that can be largely found in the surrounding urban landscape: pylons along the railroad, lampposts, poles and even bicycles, share the same cylindrical shape and metallic material.
A mere mimesis through materials is clearly not enough, hence the goal was to create a new “simple complexity” obtained by rearranging the elements identified so far, combining, with a few basic assembly techniques, modular elements made of a few parts that are always the same. The aim was to witness the sensibility for an environmentally-sustainable life-style that pervades the area.
In addition, the “leaves” of the photovoltaic trees, designed not to hinder each other from the sunlight, add a functional layer more than a merely symbolic one, as they provide a large surface of photovoltaic panels, that could supply energy for the lighting of the square. At the same time they offer the sun-shading necessary to fully enjoy the square.
The lighting effect is the most visible expression of this simple-complex organization of the elements and gives to the square a mesmerizing new aspect in the night time: the unique atmosphere and the catchy visual effect is intended to become a landmark and the iconic focus of the crowded nightlife of the district, while at the same time ensuring the necessary illumination for the square to be safe and enjoyable.
A side of the square is reserved for a three-meters-wide bike path with an adjacent bicycle parking area, so that the new square could also become the start and the end point of possible routes and an exchange node between pedestrian and bicycle mobility systems.
With the aim to promote bicycles as non-polluting and socially healthy means of transport, the project proposes to prohibit motor vehicles from crossing the square, as they can easily take advantage of the existing closest driveways.
GOMMAdesign is an architecture and design studio based in Rome, mainly focused on the investigation of new design strategies, advanced and at the same time sustainable, through the strict integration between cutting-edge digital tools, technologies, processes, materials and eco-logic strategies for environmentally-aware design.
GOMMAdesign team members gather different skills and experiences in architectural, product and interaction design, allowing the studio to constantly explore up-to-date theories and techniques in different fields (such as: materials and manufacturing processes, computational and generative tools for design, interaction technologies and strategies) and to be able to deliver advanced concepts, projects and products that properly address market’s and client’s needs in an original and inspired way
After my studies in Architecture and master degree in Ferrara, I gained international experience in Athens and Rome, where I worked for architectural offices of acknowledged value and of very different workflow organization as well as design vision. These experiences allowed me to highly improve and refine my design skills, especially in the fields of urban redevelopment, masterplan of services and residential complexes, architectural design of service buildings as well as residential buildings and units.
Team work, and proper workflow organization are the tools that I find most productive in my studio activity, for which this is a subject of constant improvement and research for the best solution. Also, having always been interested in digital tools and technical innovation, I trained and experienced especially in the use of interaction tools, their potential of application in spatial and usability issues, and more generally in their influence on the design activity.
I gained my master degree in Architecture in Rome and I’ve been working for many years as a freelance (in collaboration with many other practices and professionals worldwide) and especially as a partner in the architecture practice which I run with my parents. I worked on many projects (housing, offices, retail, health structures, services – most of them actually built), acquiring deep skills and knowledge about design at different scales and about construction processes on field.
Moreover, I have always been fascinated by the latest ground-breaking researches in sciences, maths, geometry, physics, technology and logic. The strong attitude I had since i was a child toward any kind of cutting-edge experimentation and research has led me to investigate and study several aspects and fields of the so-called “new sciences”, in a continuous search for state-of-the-art tools, both conceptual and practical, which could allow me to manage and manipulate complexity and expand my professional and creative toolkit.
My work is mainly focused on researching about innovative materials and manufacturing processes. My biggest interest is about the daily life, understanding how people lives and behaves, which are their needs and habits, and considering these as a starting and a ending point for every project, from furnitures to buildings