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Project team:

1. Paolo Galantini and Proap Studio (Team Leaders)

2. Marco Biondi

Location: Marina di Pisa, Pisa

The project is part of a system of proposals for the urban redevelopment of Marina di Pisa.

The seaside town, since the 90s of the last century, has been the subject of various projects with the aim of improving the urban layout of the coast and the use by the population, both local and tourist. The current configuration of Piazza Viviani, despite the privileged position on the seafront and the proximity to the new tourist port, is a marginal and unresolved space, an urban void that cannot have the character of a square, given the lack of a spatial definition, absence of furniture, trees and the use mostly for parking by citizens and tourists.

The close relationship between the project area and the main elements of the territory such as the sea, the church of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice, the tourist port, the Apuan Alps, the pine forest of San Rossore and the commercial vocation of via Maiorca, has allowed to identify the main visual axes and the pedestrian and cycle paths to be enhanced.

To develop the social character and liveliness of the square, the coexistence of a plurality of functions was envisaged: the pedestrian areas, the park, the bar, the market area and a large paved area suitable for hosting different types of events. The project makes it possible to transform Piazza Viviani into a hub within the city for meeting and socializing, mainly for pedestrian use.

The concept of centrality of the square, where daily actions take place, is here overturned; life and meeting take place in the outermost part of the area, a paved frame from which it is possible to reach the places of greatest interest: the port, the promenade, via Maiorca and the church of Santa Maria Ausiliatrice.

The central part, the real heart of the design idea, is a large green monument, an urban pedestal on which, as in a Giacometti work, few elements rest: the bar, the large monumental tree and the small pine forest. The interposed space, treated as a lawn, represents the platform that links the interventions. The connection of the paved area with the green remains clear and defined in an east-west direction, towards the sea, while it is dematerialized in the opposite direction, so as to represent a less marked detachment in the direction of the seafront: the paving becomes thinner and becomes sitting and the interlocking between the grass and the stone recalls the breaking of the waves on the rocks. The small pine forest tries in a representative way to recover the memory and bring the pine forest that surrounds the city into the square. In this context it is inserted as a cutout of that ecosystem, made up of pines and a shrubby undergrowth, which acts as a backdrop to the kiosk bar building and the axis linked to it, as well as a filter to the existing equipment near the coast. of a more or less widespread nature and which will be subject to intervention.

The reduction of road sections, the removal of parking spaces in the square and the limitation of accesses allow to obtain spaces that can be furnished with specific equipment to be used as a market; in particular, this measure was concentrated on the east side, in order to reconnect the commercial function with via Maiorca, where this activity appears particularly marked, defining and strengthening a possible commercial circuit.

The close relationship between the urban space and the natural element, the sea, meant that different ways of experiencing it were created. To go beyond the visual limit of the Gorgona bathroom and offer a point of view at height, in the north-east part, the paved part becomes an inclined plane, protected by a pergola that guarantees an area of shade, and at the same time constitutes a transition between the square that lives in close relationship with the viability of the road with temporarily limited traffic on market days. The user will be able to stop on the seats of the steps in a colorful and fresh environment.

Inside the green area there are seats generated by the pavement that creeps into the lawn and which also offer a privileged point of view towards the sea.

Finally, the element that most achieves this bond is the ramp / stairway that comes to touch the water, offering a promontory on the sea and on the horizon, which can be used by users as a seat and at the same time be reached by the water in accordance with the tides.

Within the project, the choice to insert a specimen of Ficus Macrophylla in the center of the green area stemmed from the desire to give the square a point of reference strongly characterizing the entire intervention, visible from any point including the sea, a large sculptural tree, a green monument, which marks the center of the two squares (one green and one paved). A place for tourist photos, a gym for climbing children or on which to sit and talk, whose growth continues over time will mark the memories and generations to come.

Taking into account the redevelopment project of the entire city area, which envisages the change of the viability on the main axes parallel to the sea and the destination of some areas as parking lots, a traffic moderation intervention is envisaged (traffic calming), with speed moderation and vehicle flow control, in order to emphasize the public, cycle and pedestrian character of the new intervention by limiting vehicular mobility to the needs of residents and traders only.

Precisely to reduce the speed, the roadways are redesigned with raised paving areas, to emphasize the entrances to intersections or pedestrian crossings, the carriageways of all roads have also been restricted to a single one-way lane, intended for residents vehicles and emergency vehicles, thus allowing the construction of a two-way cycle path and increasing the size of the current sidewalk. As per the plan forecasts, the waterfront will include a single central lane intended only for emergency vehicles and goods loading and unloading vehicles, the construction of the two-way cycle path, a substantial increase in the pedestrian area and the planting of trees.

The stone material used in the paved part that frames the square will be of type Tuscan pearl gray. The design will be characterized by the application of plates warped in an orthogonal direction to the direction of the paths. The cut in the intersections will be performed along the bisectors of the corners identified by the streets themselves in order to emphasize them by highlighting their composition.

The different functions are distinguished from the treatment of the surfaces, identifying the cycle and vehicle paths within the area: the surface smoothed by a sandblasting treatment will characterize the pedestrian areas; the increase in roughness, obtained by rolling, will identify the cycle paths, while the bush hammering will make the stone even more rough, identifying the driveways and inducing drivers not to exceed the speed limits, falling within a logic of traffic calming. 

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