Pedestrianization of Verano Square
The new squares
The pedestrianization of Verano square identifies two redeveloped urban spaces emptied of improper and adequately equipped machines and furnishings, the first in line with the entrance to the Monumental Cemetery of Rome and the second in relation to the Basilica of San Lorenzo.
The largest square develops along the entrance axis of the Monument, declining its geometry with the ground’s design, according to a striped surface, inlaid with polychrome marbles, which with a random system testifies to both the presence of the many people who live in the place and also evokes the presence of craft activities in the neighborhood and in the same square, dedicated to the processing of marble and the use of marble within the cemetery itself.
San Lorenzo square
Perhaps at present this is the most penalized of the two monuments, squeezed between the parking lot of Verano square, Viale Regina Elena and Tiburtina, it seems as if the city didn’t know how else to behave with him, and responded with a big void made of asphalt which, even wanting to be a form of respect, has instead assimilated it to a rear of the parking lot.
This second integral pedestrianization of the front square, the displacement of the taxi station in the hub, the new flooring and more adequate furnishings, a garden that acts as a filter with the rest of the city will totally change the place.
The new fountain
A mirror of water, 30 by 37 meters in size, reflects the monumental entrance, with water features of sober impact inside it, such as arches, at its sides two rows of reed-shaped nozzles with evident mention of the Hundred Fountains, allow citizens to draw water.
The bottom of the fountain has the same flooring as the new intervention. The water mirror is a film of minimum thickness, it houses its mechanisms in a trench equal to that used for a common infrastructure and allows water recirculation.
The new park
The founding principle of the project is to provide the district with a park: at this historical time moment the district doesn’t have one. Paradoxically, the place already provides it in embryo, the quantity and grandeur of the trees present almost forgotten over the years provides a very precious vegetable raw material that doesn’t look bad in a list of centenary trees.
Golf course lawn and English lawn must be eradicated from our imagination, because they have no raison d’être. The modern concepts of lawns are aimed at an important water saving and a reduction in maintenance costs. The research of the contemporary landscape towards the dry garden teaches a lot about the possibility of obtaining a green surface completely similar to a lawn but with an irrigation need equal to half of a common lawn, and an almost halved need for mowing. So all new lawns will consist of species like zoysia and lippia.
Within the prairies, lines of colored herbaceous plants rise above meadows, identifying fields of different sizes and features. Close to the pedestrian spaces, there are mixed herbaceous areas that never reach a height greater than 80 centimeters, a choice that isn’t random or aesthetic but which has a precise reference to the need to always look at the horizon both at night and during day, providing security to the user.
The herbaceous islands are composed for the most part by species that are close relatives of the fields’ grasses, yarrows, asphodels, common lilies, all plants of italian flora or easily acclimatized that therefore adapt well to the labile maintenance regimes of the city. Humble plants but of great beauty.
The numerous pedestrian paths lead finally to three clearings, large spaces with gardens that perform the reception function required by the neighborhood. They are mineral but always surrounded by vegetation. These large fields, each about 500 square meters, house cafes and a play area.
All existing trees are preserved or replaced by identical species, whether diseased or unstable. Evergreen trees flank the monumental entrance to replace the parking lots. In the new exchange square, some evergreen trees connect the node to the park. A weaving of small flowering trees branches out throughout the intervention. Cherry trees (Prunus avium) whose maximum height in nature reaches no more than 10 meters, deciduous and generous in the blooms will give an identity to the place over the years.
About 12 lines of public transport pass and stop in the square. A complex and busy place with no identity at present. The proposal also provides for an arrangement of the area affected by the interchange nodes, outside the project area, rationalizing the traffic lanes, bringing them from the 4 existing along the Tiburtina to 3 of 3,50 m each.
The same thing happens with the lanes intended for public traffic, the parked buses don’t necessarily have to be parked in disordered batteries, but can be placed one behind the other in a long, ordered strip, (4,40 m, 80 m long) of stop and transit alongside the tram route. These two expedients make possible to obtain a large pedestrian area imagined vegetated, from trees but also easily from a pergola or roof that refers to the memory of the pergola that reached the Basilica from the walls. A mass of new vegetation made up of small, partly evergreen trees links the place with the adjacent park. A large quay of 80 m is obtained with the necessary furnishings. The taxi station is located nearby.
The promenade along the via Tiburtina and the cycle path
Along the Tiburtina, in the stretch along the park, there is a path where pedestrians and cyclists live together, at the same level. A 8 m wide strip (2,5 m of pedestrian zone close to the vehicle and service lanes for Bus stops, 2,5 m of two-lane cycle path and 3 m of pedestrian walk towards the park) welcomes cyclists, skaters wheelchairs and pedestrians who, with adequate horizontal signs, will be able to respect each other, without ever being face to face with a car.
The only axis of the current square that the project doesn’t modify in any way is the street of flowers The new architecture of the kiosks isn’t the theme of the project, but could become the characteristic of this place, a street dedicated sees them next to each other in a very long 76 m banquet made up of 15 kiosks which, by marking a repetition, become part of the park landscape.
Design: Lorenza Bartolazzi, Claudia Clementini, Assia Del Favero, Laura Giusti
Project Location: Rome, Italy
Typology: Urban design
Design year: 2019-2020