Hospitable, convivial – inclusive – the renovation of the arches under the bridge in via Libia in Bologna was developed by the Blox studio for a voluntary association

Developed around the concept of urban and social regeneration, Libia 72 was born from the restructuring of part of the arches under the bridge in via Libia in Bologna. Designed by the Blox Architettura studio, the space is inhabited and managed by a non-profit voluntary association entirely dedicated to the reception service of migrants and asylum seekers in transit from Italy.

The vocation of this place is therefore to 'act as a bridge' for people passing through our country and, precisely for this reason, it was conceived in an inclusive key to encourage openness and encounter: a place oriented towards sharing and hospitality, crowned by a series of heterogeneous activities.

What characterizes the Blox study

The constant and essential research of the Blox Architettura studio, founded by Alberto Giancani and Giulia Sarmenghi , is oriented to investigate the constantly evolving boundaries between the domestic sphere and the urban habitat, in order to propose experimental forms for ' contemporary living that stimulate a collective vision.

The intervention between technique and social aims

During the renovation work that lasted a year and a half, the Blox studio worked to merge the design needs with the aims of the association of volunteers, merging the technical characteristics of the intervention with the objectives to social background. The successful outcome of this complex combination has favored the victory of a tender dedicated to urban regeneration useful to cover almost all investments.

The restructuring

The structure consists of three arches at three different heights. The main intent of the designers was to restore an open and flexible space, without particular constraints that would have compromised a differentiated use within it. The project envisaged a rethinking of the premises located under the arches of the bridge by introducing different areas intended for various activities, such as a kitchen laboratory, a small fruit and vegetable market, an area for workshops, leisure and entertainment of various kinds and an additional service area that houses the new bathrooms, with access also for disabled people, changing rooms and laundry.

The hierarchy of spaces

To overcome a problem of water infiltration from the road above, a 'second skin' of internal covering made with corrugated plates that allow the water to flow into special collection channels . The same raceways have been identified as the ideal part for the insertion of a linear lighting system that would enhance the curve of the vaults and which, together with the numerous light points from the emission more subdued distributed in the rooms, create a particular atmosphere able to define the hierarchy of spaces.

Opening light

Within the entire project, the theme of light is central. The space, before the interventions, was very dark and with a very low possibility of ventilation. The new openings have made it possible to improve air circulation and ventilation, also ensuring more diffused lighting in the rooms distributed under each arch.

Social infrastructure

The simplicity of the lines and the neutrality of the colors chosen for the interiors have a double objective: on the one hand it is important not to distract attention from the numerous activities planned, The other is functional choices that support the shape of the three arches, allowing to contain and embrace all the diversity which, even in terms of furnishings, immediately reflect the heterogeneity that characterizes the frequentation of thi“social infrastructure ”.