The arrangement of the area that extends from the front of the Church along the entire length of the square contributes to the characterization of the area: a large urban space framed by two rows of bitter orange trees (Citrus aurantium L.) and rotating benches, makes the space vibrant and dynamic. This large front that frames the church lends itself to accommodate different functions as befits an urban space, since its dimensions are such as to make it suitable both for organizing public and religious events, but also for hosting a local market, transforming Piazza dei Mille from space of mere passage as a reference point for the district and the city.
The study of the plant elements involved the planting of bitter orange trees that recall the citrus fruits present in the private gardens of the eighteenth-century area and, in the parts of the flooring that divide the project’s areas, green escapes in which growth is expected of grass all year round, making the square look iridescent during the various seasons.
The redevelopment of building curtains through the plant element also contributes to the definition of the urban space; the installation of steel cables on the curtains, allows the vertical development of essences such as jasmine (Jasminum officinale L.) or wisteria (Wisteria floribunda) as it happened in the “white zone” of Molese, where each housing unit was marked by a luxuriant creeper.
The Church is also framed on the sides by two flowerbeds with plants typical of the Mediterranean scrub, that is wild olive tree (Olea europaea var. sylvestris) and mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), to recall the extra urban character that the building had when was built. The flowerbed that currently houses the statue of San Michele has been transformed into a usable green space, enhanced by permeable flooring with green joints, which under the shade of the lime trees (Tilia platyphillos) left in situ, hosts benches and tables to increase the possibility of sociality of the space itself.
The playground area is set between the side elevation of Palazzo Tanzi and the tree-lined garden, occupying the pre-existing road connecting via Oberdan and the center of the square. A terrain vague where one of the gold seams of Kintsugi unhinges the condition of residual space to create a place open to social aggregation and leisure. The playful space punctuated by bright colors overlaps the interstitial space, binding in a modern key with the historical context of Palazzo Tanzi; the playground develops on the horizontal plane of the flooring and on the vertical plane of the side elevation of the building, with an equipped wall juxtaposed to the other wall that plays with the building’s characters and the rhythm of its openings. The colorful pattern that runs over the entire surface is composed of inclined lines that reflect the directions of the streets that meet in Piazza dei Mille.
The logic of upgrading the existing car parks follows the design choices in the context of viability. The road loop of via Bovio and via Settembrini is enriched by a car park with twenty stalls for residential use in a portion of the private garden on via Settembrini. This intervention makes it possible to move the stalls that now hinder the square space within this adjacent area, making the space of Piazza dei Mille and its predisposition for pedestrian use more cohesive.
Design: Studio Plasti.co
Project Location: Piazza dei Mille, Mola di Bari, Italy
Typology: Public space, square
Design team: Bepy Daniele, Roberto Farella, Denisio Ranieri, Maria Cristina Tagarelli
Award: First prize for the architectural ideas competition “Spazi nella città” for the redevelopment of Piazza dei Mille
Collective at the service of the urban fabric. “That molds, that has the ability to model, to give a shape”.