Bagnoli Urban Park


Conceptually, and as often happens in our proposals, topomorphology – the land form – created the underlying design of the physical aspect of the park. Immediately there followed a consideration of every possible topographic manipulation, configuration of park systems, and potential functionality we would like to impose on it.

We believe that acting on the topography and what it represents – topomorphology – it would be possible to make clear the functional conditions of the park, since the main constraints on the survival of the landscape’s living materials stem from the shape of the land.

Topography allowed us to determine hydric factors – differences in the slopes, soil textures for drainage or water infiltration, or depressions for water accumulation – extremely important in climates with prolonged droughts. It (topography) allowed us to define behavioral variations in the vegetation and floristic groupings – in accordance with the water factors themselves, the solar conditions, radiation and orientation, and the slope angle and soil characteristics. And finally it (topography) made possible the manipulation of the site’s microclimatic conditions – exposure to, or protection from the wind, maritime influences and tidal exposure, slope orientation, creation of solids/voids spaces and light/ shade areas.

We can say that the development and functioning of the park as a construct is born of the influence of topography on the place’s new conditions. It would separate the components introduced into the park’s autonomous operating and the defining logic that shapes its image. In fact, topography would be equivalent to the true design of the park, in a combination of configuration principles, not only image and functioning of living systems, but also the functioning of possible uses.

The park’s macrostructure was defined by an exercise that opposed a large, very steep east-facing slope to a gentle, westerly seaside slope. This topography would be crossed by paths at a level height, easy and comfortable to walk on, connecting the parking spaces on the park’s periphery to the bathing areas. In passing through the large elevation, the paths, initially running through an entrenchment, would progressively reveal the view of the beaches, the wetlands and the different zones of the park.

The topographic exercise also revealed itself in the competition process, as a way of improving the conditions of soil decontamination. The areas more heavily contaminated by the pre-existing industries would be treated and the contaminated material accumulated in pockets located in the large elevation. The improvement of edaphic conditions is always instrumental to the correct functioning of the park metabolism.

In fact, throughout our daily practice, we have come to realise that the topographic design is fundamental in the formatting of every condition of landscape use, activating user reactions to diverse environmental characteristics leading to behaviors related to the way in which these particularities determine, for example, the diversity of the plant cover, shade regimen and cool area systems. Actions as simple as the choice of the ideal spot to lie on the grass, to flirt, to run or to have a picnic are directly dependent on it.

These ideas generated a proposal not equally understood and accepted by the evaluation commissions. A proposal that essentially established a preliminary design, the basis of a first potential image, mainly sculptural, revealed through topographic modeling, but one that included every possible future scenario for the park, created in the time and according to the different hopes of the community.

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