Project team:

Client: City Naples, Italy
Architects: Oscar Tusquets Blanca
Project management: Giovanni Fassanaro
Lighting design: AIA
Artists: William Kentridge, Bob Wilson, Achille Cevoli

20. Sep 2013

In-depth inspiration

The Toledo Metro station and Piazza Diaz in Neapel/I

Text: Joachim Ritter
Photos: Andrea Resmini

Inspiration is a strange phenomenon, a miracle, a penny-has-dropped sensation. It can lead to a surge of creativity, a raison d’être or – in the case of Oscar Tusquets Blanca when viewing the beginnings of the engineering work in preparation for the Toledo Metro station – a razón de ser.

On his first visit to the site he not only discovered that it was still possible to make substantial structural modifications, he was also impressed by what he described as “the Piranesian grandeur of the huge pit” that had been dug into the ground. It was more than 40 metres deep, with an immense gantry crane over it removing tonnes of volcanic sediments from the Neapolitan subsoil. He was informed that the pit would be covered via a series of floors. This was when the inspiration set in… Although space was required to house machinery and ventilation ducts, he proposed the crater should not be entirely covered. He recalled champagne cellars in Épernay built inside lime pits that dated back to Roman times, white cathedral-like cones lit through a small orifice in their vertex, and described this to the railway engineers, who in turn enthusiastically explained how Naples was full of impressive Roman mines. It all became clear then.
Oscar Tusquets Blanca: “It seemed magical that travellers coming off the trains would be able to sense how deep they were and glimpse the light of the sun up there above; and that in the piazza above strollers would be able to lean over the parapet and see passengers moving around 37 metres (about 12 storeys) below them, something surprising and dizzying”. […]


The full version of the article can be found in PLD No. 89.
And our PLD magazine app (iPad App Store) contains a media-enhanced version.

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