architect: Cino Zucchi Architetti
An environmental sculpture for the city of Lugano.
Tunnels are “wounds” inflicted on geology to facilitate human movements. Their history is ancient, glorious and violent, but today the techniques have been refined to the point of making the excavation similar to an operation in endoscopy.
The new Vedeggio-Cassarate tunnel that connects the area by the Lugano stadium to the Milan-Zurich highway has already triggered an extensive urban transformation of the area, which will become the new entrance gate to the city from the north. Until the work on the roads connecting the tunnel to the existing road system has been completed, the entrance and exit from the tunnel on the Cassarate side needed a temporary arrangement to screen the structural works before the second implementative phase was completed, that made the area blend better with the surrounding landscape.
A simple idea, namely the repetition of a series of poles in spruce wood with rectangular section, of different lengths, is rendered complex by the possibilities to control the form offered by parametric design programs. A “ruled surface” (the geometric definition of a curved surface obtained with rectilinear sections that rotate in space) moves to reflect the orographic limits and the cinematic vision of those driving by. A large sinuous “screen” which reaches a height of 10 metres and passes from a concave development to a convex one, sometimes permeable to the gaze and sometimes opaque, depending on the points of view, constitutes a kind of “environmental sculpture” which identifies the entrance to the city. A parterre of white pebbles conceals the point where the poles enter the ground, making every structural detail disappear in favour of a pure perception of movement and the different plays of the light at different times of the day and the year.
Cino Zucchi Architects, which won the competition for the town plan of the New Cornaredo District as part of a team including Federico Oliva Associati, Land and the Class group, has authored the architectural design of this element, which is about 250 metres long; Mauri & Banci SA engineers have provided for the structural consulting with the supervision of the Department of the Territory of the Canton Ticino (constructions division). The large screen in wood thus becomes a small but significant sign of the future transformations which will make this area become the new gate to Lugano from the north.