modus architects' ring road project in south tyrol includes sculptural concrete portals
 

modus architects' ring road project in south tyrol includes sculptural concrete portals

since 2015, modus architects — the firm led by matteo scagnol and sandy attia — has been developing a infrastructural landscape project in northern italy. the masterplan comprises a series of connected, largely underground roads that reduce traffic volume and provide an alternate route around the south tyrol cities of bressanone (brixen) and varna (vahrn). the brief called for a series of interventions along its entire length, including: tunnel portals, retaining walls, acoustic barriers, service substations, mechanical structures, ventilation chimneys, and various signage elements.

modus architects ring road
image © gustav willeit (also main image)

 

 

modus architects began the project by seeking to minimize the environmental impact of the elements above ground in order to express both an architectural and technical quality. secondly, these elements, and those below ground, were conceptualized into a unified, consequential design approach, and were calibrated to accommodate the particularities of the immediate site conditions. lastly, the bressanone and varna tracts were pulled together into one continuum whereby the two townships are no longer conceived as distinct contexts but as two parts of a greater whole.

modus architects ring road
image © gustav willeit

 

 

the tunnels’ sculptural portals have been conceived as expressive figures that emerge from the buried, unseen networks of roads. the concrete used for the new addition is made of excavation materials drawn from the ongoing construction site of the 64-kilometer-long (40 mile) ‘brenner base tunnel’ traversing below the alps from innsbruck (austria) to fortezza (italy). together with exposed concrete, larch wooden acoustic barrier walls, and weathering steel ventilation chimneys, the portals mark the threshold between below and above ground.

modus architects ring road
image © gustav willeit

 

 

‘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,’ explains sandy attia, co-founder of modus architects. ‘the ring road project underlines the reciprocity of these disciplines as a singular design challenge, not just given the environmental and economic impact of these projects, but also as a model for small cities grappling with questions of mobility, heritage and placemaking.’

modus architects ring road
image © gustav willeit

 

 

the other half of the founding duo, matteo scagnol continues: ‘the role architects play in large infrastructural projects has been increasingly marginalized over the past few decades in italy: the country’s remarkable density and stratification of historical and natural contexts present unique and pressing challenges that the public administration needs to address. 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.’

modus architects ring road
image © leonhard angerer

modus architects' ring road project in south tyrol includes sculptural concrete portals
image © modus architects

modus architects' ring road project in south tyrol includes sculptural concrete portals
image © leonhard angerer

modus-architects-sculptural-portal-ring-road-project-south-tyrol-designboom-1800b

image © leonhard angerer

modus architects' ring road project in south tyrol includes sculptural concrete portals
image © gustav willeit

modus architects' ring road project in south tyrol includes sculptural concrete portals
image © gustav willeit

modus architects' ring road project in south tyrol includes sculptural concrete portals
image © mario valdemarin

 

 

project info:

 

name: central juncture of bressanone-varna ring road
location: bressanone (bolzano, italy)
architect: modus architects (sandy attia, matteo scagnol)
client: department of infrastructure and mobility of the autonomous province of bolzano
design phase: 2015-2017
construction phase: 2017-2020
completion: end of june 2020

 

civil and structural engineering, construction management: ing. mario valdemarin
engineering team: ing. mario valdemarin, ing. dieter schölzhorn, EUT energie und umwelttechnik GmbH, bergmeister GmbH, geoconsulting int.
underground and geotechnical consultant: ing. mario valdemarin, ing. dieter schölzhorn
geological consultant: geol. alfred psenner, geol. icilio starni
technological systems consultant: studio tema srl (p.i. mattia betti)
project manager: provincia autonoma di bolzano, dott. ing. umberto simone
general contractor: PAC s.p.a in ati with wipptaler bau AG and beton eisack GmbH
length: 500m /1,640 ft (central juncture tunnel); 5km / 3 miles (completed ring road); 8km / 5 miles (full length of the ring road)
materials: exposed concrete, leca-beton (structural light concrete with leca expanded clay aggregates), cor-ten steel, larch wood

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