Project:  Giovanni Vaccarini

Chronology:  2004

Staff Danilo Romani (preliminary planning), Cosimino Casterini (definitive and executive design)

Location Ortona (CH)

The project is located below the city centre, along Via della Marina, the street that defines the site and the points of access to the different levels of the parking structure. The design defines a system composed of two elements:
- a primarily horizontal element (the volume of the parking structure) whose geometry confronts the bases of the buttresses bracing a large retaining wall;
- a second vertical element (the elevator tower) that will become a new landmark, identifying the means of accessing the city above.
This new urban sign belongs to the series of vertical elements dotting the landscape: the bell tower of the nearby Church of Purgatory, the lighthouse, other bell towers, etc.
The two elements are linked by the design of a cladding system of overlapping “scales”, a skin that reveals the different functions of the project and relates to its surroundings: a macro-sculpture that dialogues with the key elements of the site (hillside, retaining wall, urban skyline). The system of “scales” defines a machine for viewing the landscape, peeling away to offer views, above all from the elevator tower.
The project features 60 parking stalls, 102 garages and mechanised vertical circulation that links up with an existing system of stairs. The parking structure measures 18 x 64.60 meters, with a total floor area of 1,163 square metres. The floor plates are adjusted to match four different levels of access from Via della Marina.
There are a further two themes of major interest:
1) a relationship of continuity linking the area of the port with the city above;
2) the design of the roof of the parking garage as a true "fifth elevation".
The project offers the following responses:
1) A "skin" comprised of “scales” that define a plastic elevation, enhanced by a southern exposure, where the sun’s rays intensify the vibrations of solids and voids. The complexity of this system hints at a sculptural approach suggested by the powerful and plastic presence of the arches of the retaining wall. The result resembles a work of land art, or a work of landscape architecture.
The lift tower becomes a sign indicating the point of ascent to the city. It mediates between the urban fabric and the escarpment.
2) The roof is the "fifth elevation" of the project. The surfaces of the parking levels are treated with pigments and fitted with flush lighting fixtures to define an urban space rather than an amorphous monochromatic asphalt plane. This rooftop/plaza offers a twofold vision: by day dominated by the play of colours and materials, by night animated by the geometries highlighted by the recessed lighting.