"This is a great urban project that overcomes a serious barrier in the city. A new neighborhood and important public spaces are created over what was once an open trough and railyard." - Philip Enquist, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP
SITE: The existing train yard site in the conter of Castellamare di Stabia, Italy.
PROGRAM: The plan seeks to use streets, courtyard buildings, and public spaces to restore access to the waterfront and"stitch" together neighbborhoods separated by a rail yard.
Trains and transit stations are often the hearts of vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods, but the station in Castellamare di Stabia created a major tear in the city's urban fabric. The station and its dusty train yard serves as a long super block that severed the residential neighborhood to the east from one of its main assets, the nearby lunomare or waterfront.
With the train line serving the station expected to be abandoned in favor of the Circimvesuviana line to the east, the city spotted an opportunity to repair its urban fabric and add value to neighborhoods regarded as undesirable. Because the University of Maryland School of Architecture has a memorandum of understanding how to develop urban projects for the city, a faculty/student team devised this plan for redeveloping the area with a network of streets and blocks and a human-scaled pedestrian environment.
By reestablishing urban fabric on the sire at an intimate scale that characterizes southern Italy, the new infill development will connect the cultural assets and residential communities behind the station to the waterfront.
The plan calls for the site to be develops with four-to-seven story courtyard apartment buildings. A type common in the city, these apartment buildings establish the street wall at the perimeter of the block and provide private courts in the interior of the block. This pattern supports higher-density development with pleasing balance of public and private spaces. Badly needed parking is located below grade in the residential blocks.
At the core of the project is a new piazza that celebrates the city's famous natural mineral springs with a series of fountains that lead down to the Bay of Naples. Surrounded by mixed-use buildings that form an outdoor room, the piazza will likely become a popular gathering space. By extending existing streets throughout the site, the plan would create a series of view corridors from the center of the city down to the bay.
Where possible, the project seeks to reuse and adapt historic structures on the site. The train station is re-imagined as a museum and garden. The plan proposes new cultural uses for existing warehouses at the north end of the site.
With this plan, Castellamare di Stabia has a remedy will-suited for the task of healing a wound at its ancient and valuable heart.