As part of an ongoing traffic-reducing project, design has been embraced at the core of this infrastructural build
Image: Tunnel portal out of Bressanone city centre
Words by Hugh Metcalf
Photos by Gustav Willeit
MoDusArchitects recently completed project – a new gateway to the small city of Bressanone, South Tyrol, in Italy – eschews the technical, functional design vocabulary typically offered up in the design of infrastructure.
Created as part of the Bressanone-Varna Ring Road, a series of connect, largely underground roads with the aim to reduce traffic volume, the mouth of this new tunnel is almost sculptural in form, thanks to its curvilinear design.
“Civil engineering projects provide a unique opportunity to bring together the different scales – and at times jarring specificities – of infrastructure, landscape, architecture and urban decorum,” says co-founder of MoDusArchitects, Sandy Attia.
Image: Entrance portal to Bressanone
“The role architects play in large infrastructural projects has been increasingly marginalized over the past few decades in Italy… The Ring Road in South Tyrol is borne of deliberate, decision-making processes that comprehend the importance of design at every scale and as such created the conditions necessary for a cross-disciplinary collaboration to occur.”
However, the tunnel portal is just one element of the required interventions as part of the project – retaining walls, acoustic barriers, service substations, mechanical structures, ventilation chimneys, and various signage elements were all to be factored into the design.
Image: A Corten steel chimney sits atop the underground tunnel.
MoDusArchitects’ design looked to minimise disturbance to the environment above ground and also paid particular attention to noise emission from the new road – especially important when building next to many small scale buildings of Bressanone.
Concrete was made using aggregates and excavation materials drawn from the ongoing construction site of the 64km Brenner Base Tunnel traversing below the Alps from Innsbruck in Austria to Fortezza in Italy.
The final element of the Bressanone-Varna Ring Road project is scheduled for completion in 2025, reaching its final destination past the city of Varna.