Located on Piazza della Visitazione, along the route extending from the old city to the postwar and contemporary districts, the new Matera Centrale station of Ferrovie Appulo Lucane designed by Stefano Boeri Architetti represents an important new access point to Matera precisely in its year as European Cultural Capital.
A large rectangular opening of about 440 m2 created in the pavement of the plaza creates a direct relation between the two parts of the project: the public zone above ground and the underground part for rail service, bringing natural light and air to the tunnel below, which has thus been completely regenerated as an identifiable, legible and therefore livable space.
The project (see the presentation) stands out for the large new roof (45x35 m, 12 m high at plaza level and 18 m high at the level of the platforms) that is forcefully inserted in the Matera skyline as a landmark that clearly identifies the station as a new gateway of the city while transforming the outdoor space into a sheltered plaza to be used by travelers, residents and tourists as a place for gathering, waiting, transit and strolling, giving new life to an important portion of the city, faced by various public buildings of architectural value. The area was previously a parking lot.
The large roof with a height of 12 meters at plaza level is supported by twelve steel columns that rise from the “rail level” and cross the height of the tunnel to reach ground level, providing a vast covered area for travelers and residents that makes it possible to spend time in the plaza in all kinds of weather and at all hours of the day or night.
The project has been made mostly with two materials that represent the two spirits of Matera: Apricena stone which echoes the local stone of the ancient city of the Sassi, and steel which speaks of the dynamism of the modern city.
The waiting platform and the station building are entire clad in stone, while the emergency platform, the two elevated walkways and the large canopy structure are in steel.
The photovoltaic panels on the roof provide energy self-sufficiency for the station, and in the future they will power the entire plaza and park, in tune with the most advanced principles of environmental sustainability addressed by the design research of Stefano Boeri Architetti. The system with an area of 1250 m2 is composed of 696 panels that produce 271,440 KWh of energy per year.
The new station has been designed with the near future in mind, with increased rail transport to and from Matera, which after 2019 will move towards a stable position in the ranks of cultural centers, as a city with a unique history.
A city that looks to the future and prepares to welcome more commuters, visitors and tourists than ever before.
“For Matera we have imagined an infrastructure that can effectively become a place of passage, but also of gathering and socializing. A public place composed of two open areas: the longitudinal void (at a level of 6 meters below ground) along the tracks, and the void (at ground level) of the covered plaza, bordered by a large canopy,” says Stefano Boeri.
“The public space of the new station can offer the public a sequence of places capable of capturing and reflecting light in different ways. A tribute to the remarkable experience of perception offered by the Sassi (cave dwellings) and their continuous metamorphosis in caverns, steps, terraces, overhangs that change light and depth depending on the position of the sun and the moon in the sky.”