Competition of ideas for the Municipality of Stabio

The subject of the competition is a green area located in a nerve center of Stabio, which is part of three structures fundamental for the community: the Municipal House of Stabio, the Casa del Sole and the Casa Elziani Santa Filomena. Despite the potential and the presence of some quality elements (the large trees, the pond, a certain privacy despite the central location), the area is currently not very busy, little characterized and almost not perceptible from the neighboring Via Ufentina.

CARPA DIEM is a project that has two main objectives. The first is to make the park, now a geometric piece in its own right, a fluid connecting element: the rigid structure is broken by paths that connect the key points of the sector and connect them with the country. The flows are generated in a natural way by following the paths that people would spontaneously make if not there were already demarcated mandatory routes.

The second objective is to characterize the park, so as to make it a meeting point for the community; not just a “pleasant park” then, but a place that arouses curiosity and interest.

For this purpose, it is first of all necessary to remove some substantial elements of caesura. The chaotic ensemble of walls, steps and shrubs along Via Ufentina crumbles; municipal board and bicycle sheds come relocated. A unitary system of steps, ramps and green pools is proposed, which gently follows the slopes and allows the visitor to access the compartment at several points. Thanks to the new spatiality and due to the absence of barriers to the city, the Municipal Hall  acquires a new, fresh and dynamic form of representation.

The same fate touches the wall that delimits the area of ​​the Casa del Sole, a wall that isolates it physically and visually: its removal is the first step to connect the structure with the park and is an opportunity to introduce new relationships.

On this space, now free, there are three generating lines that redefine the park; where the paths converge or detach, naturally areas of aggregation with diversified vocations are created.

From the first convergence the central meeting point of the park is generated, a small square paved with possibility of being shaded in the sunniest months through a removable circular cover. The main seats are integrated into the gesture, following the primary curves and delimiting two sides of the square. The third side is bordered by an evocative element that has strongly characterized Stabio in past centuries: water. Water is a historical and natural attraction for the city of Stabio: you can think of the importance of thermal waters in past times, of numerous streams present in the area… Water has always been at the center of human development: it can be contemplated, observed, shaped, used… and you can play with it.

For this CARPA DIEM enhances the water element, already present in the park. The small pond becomes nerve center and catalyst of the system. It does so by doubling and acquiring a new shape, becoming a small stream that flanks one of the generating lines.

Water thus becomes an attractive factor for the community: for families, children, teachers and for anyone would like to discover the functioning of hydraulic pumps and wheels, of locks and shutters, of legendary Archimedean screws. The games that populate the watercourse exploit its natural flow, dictated by the existing slopes, and are both a playful and pedagogical element, designed to make people understand the laws of physics and mechanics through fun, promoting creativity, manual skills and cooperation.

The flow of water also defines the paved part, separating it from the more natural area of ​​the park, where there you can lie on the green grass reading a book, enjoying the sun and cooling off with the stream.

The “source” and the end of the watercourse are also significant places. The source is attested in second meeting space created by the convergence / divergence of the generating lines: the small square of Day center for the elderly. This space now enjoys a new opening towards the Town Hall compartment: a livable, shaded exterior, lapped by water, from which you can observe life in the park. Here too, in the sunniest months, a removable canopy allows the creation of a shaded area with tables and chairs. The meeting area is close to the park of the Santa Filomena elderly home, with which it would be interesting to establish a more direct connection. Compared to the old people’s home, the buffer zone is maintained, including the trees, along the side of the rooms.

Next to it is the nursery garden, no longer an element in its own right but a natural continuation of the park, also touched by water. Even the little ones, with the guidance of their teachers, can enjoy natural elements, in a limited and protected space, or go to the park opposite.

In the final part, the water gently descends the steps leading to the compartment, calling out to the outside what develops inside the park. Representative flags fly to its right and a base is integrated to house some significant sculpture for the town, to underline the public and representative vocation of the place.

CARPA DIEM transforms an abstract piece into place for everyone: for the elderly who gravitate around the Day center and home for the elderly; for children, even the youngest, who can go to the park not only for the pond, but also to experiment through pedagogical games; for young people, adults and families eager for a moment of relaxation and reading in the urban green or socializing in equipped areas.

The convergence of several places of interest in a single park favors the exchange of relationships between generations, basis for the creation of a living and cohesive community. The internal reorganization of flows and accessibility of the park from the outside, guaranteed in several places on foot, by bike or in wheelchair, makes it a truly usable park. A buffer zone is maintained between the park and the Municipal Hall, to guarantee the municipal operators freedom of movement and tranquility, while enjoying the new park.

The fluidity of the spaces is reinforced by the material choices of the elements. The representation areas linked to the Town Hall remain characterized by the traditional porphyry dice, while the paved areas of the park are made of cement. The transition between the elements (green, cement and dice) is not clear: the materials are interpenetrated, vanishing into each other so as to obtain a natural transition. Most of the trees present is maintained; only a few trees are felled to break up the existing geometry, leave placed on a more dynamic spatiality, open new visual axes.

Project details

Design: Studio Seltz
Project Location: Stabio, Switzerland
Typology: Urban design
Design year: 2022

Studio Seltz

Studio Seltz

Studio Seltz started in a former soda factory in San Pietro di Stabio (CH) in 2021. This beautiful atelier surrounded by nature is home to architectural projects of any type and size, designed with passion for details and realized with accuracy. This includes villas, historic courtyards, residential and administrative buildings, custom-made interiors and furnishings, as well as town areas and urban landscapes. Thanks to the many years of experience gained in the field by the two founding members, each project is thoroughly analysed and carefully brought to live. Every creative process encompasses functional and technical requirements, aesthetic and emotional aspects, balance, and attention for the materials and sustainability. This process ultimately puts humans at the center of every creation, with their many needs and nuances, acknowledging them both as individuals as well as a part of a broader, fluid, and dynamic community.