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.
Sannazzaro in Brescia, Italy by Studio Daniel Libeskind
September 17th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: SDL
The Sannazzaro masterplan creates a unique opportunity to rethink the city model of Brescia, which like many Italian cities, contains a fractured periphery. This periphery is in constant change and as such fails to reach a quality comparable to that of the historical city center. Sannazzaro endeavors to develop a new node for Brescia, a counterweight to the historical center, and incorporate 21st century ideas of sustainability, public space, architecture and program. Studio Daniel Libeskind designed the master plan, as well as the central municipality buildings and eastern residential block. SDL worked with DOP Dante Benini and Partners on this project.
The site is located half way between the historical center of Brescia and the A4 highway leading into the city. To the north and west the site borders the edge of existing residential neighborhoods and to the south and east borders underused or neglected industrial and big box retail areas. The masterplan attempts to negotiate between these two zones, pulling the fabric of the existing residential areas into the site and providing a catalyst and framework for renewed development of the industrial areas on its eastern and southern edges. Between these edges, at the interior of the site, breathes a new park.
When one approaches from the highway the first image of the Sannazzaro project is that of the new municipal government building. Two wings rotate around a central form, which forms a piazza with multiple levels that provide views of the park and city in all directions. The buildings and piazza are a new icon for the city, an architectural and programmatic reinterpretation of the interaction between government and citizens that harkens back to the democratic roots of the agora.
Located at the southwestern corner of the site, the municipal buildings serve as the lynchpin for the development along Via Dalmazia to the north and Via Salgari to the east. Via Dalmazia is now imagined as a grand boulevard anchored at one end by the new government center and lined with trees, bicycle paths and wide sidewalks. Several points along the length of the street, including a bridge, openings to the new park, and a piazza, wait to be connected across the boulevard to industrial lands to the west. A high concentration of mixed use spaces combining retail and commercial services on the ground floor and office towers above provide life to the street. Via Salgari interacts on a smaller scale but has a major opening to the new park, which is not only a proposed point of connection to the big box retail landscape to the south but also mediates between the more commercial section of the street to the west and the beginning of the residential area to the east.
The eight residential buildings at the east and north ends of the site continue the texture of the existing residential neighborhoods into the Sannazzaro neighborhood. These buildings, although congruous with their surroundings in terms of massing, height and use, break the rigid pattern of the city grid, providing multiple views and points of access into the park, making it not just a park for the residents of Sannazzaro, but one for the city as a whole.
The park contains few formal elements. It eddies into openings created by gaps in the street front, tying disparate vectors of arrival and departure from and to the surrounding city. At the points where it meets the new residential buildings, the park spaces provide separation by modulation of the terrain instead of strict delineations between private and public property. The residential bases thus become a part of the park. At the two buildings flanking the new municipal center, it rises up and over the commercial bases creating hybrids of park and piazza. Its abstract design invites a multiplicity of uses and varied programs for entertainment, relaxation or play. As such the Sannazzaro park spaces become a magnet of activity and a new green lung for the city.
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