STAZIONE PORTA AL PRATO, FLORENCE, ITALY
STUDIO: ARCH 312, Prof. Zeuler Lima, Washington University in St. Louis, Spring 2013
COLLABORATORS: Kristen Nowotarski, Samantha Stapleton.
PROGRAM: An urban scale re-development of an existing tram stop and surrounding public space. Project duration: 7 weeks.
Porta al Prato Station, located between Florence’s city center, Cascine park, and a newly opened opera house, sits at the boundary between the dense urban fabric of central Florence and the more automobile-centric sprawl beyond. The site is a disorienting confluence of transportation: the tram line and a limited access highway pierce through the surrounding surface streets, resulting in pockets of unusable space and impeding pedestrian connectivity with the city center. As a solution, we propose to sink the highway below grade, reconfigure and simplify the route of the tram line, and extend the logic of the city street grid to convert the previously disparate, unusable, and leftover spaces into a series of pedestrian ways and public plazas surrounded by cafes, stores, pavilions, green spaces, and water elements. These interventions not only promote the pedestrian connection between the city, the park, and the opera house, but also establish and activate an urban locus of its own.