Architectural competition SOLAR PARK SOUTH 2010, REGGIO CALABRIA, ITALY
Team uth7: Christos Bletsas, Charilaos Siaravas, Athanasios Galanis, Dimitris, Liana Sofiadi, Giorgos Amvrazis, Irgen Salianji


Central idea
The project’s central idea is the creation of a park that exploits the local geological and climatic conditions in order to produce clean energy, in other words by taking advantage of the long sunshine duration of Mediterranean, the strong winds that cover the seaside zones and the water potential of the mountain water sources.

To produce energy through renewable energy sources that supply the park’s and the around areas’ energy needs.
To construct eco-friendly facilities.
To banish the use of conventional vehicles within the park’s area, but also provide facilities that motivate walking/cycling.
To incorporate the old structure in the natural landscape via the use of plants and local materials.
To create a “living organism” interacting with the local community; people use it on an everyday basis, thus its existence is justified and broadened.
To create a touristic eco-friendly benchmark that will boost the local economy and the image of Calabria as a tourist destination.
To provide experimental research centers focusing on technologies for renewable energy and eco-friendly ways for land cultivating (under the local geological and climatic conditions).

Target groups
Local residents e.g. families,  elders, art lovers (music, theater, visual arts)
Researchers and students

Space organization
Three basic thematic sections arrayed in a linear way organize the park’s space:

a)      Botanic Gardens: this is the western part of the park dedicated to Nature. There are no large tunnels constructed and it is the location of the lowest land elevation that provides an access point for residents of city Scilla. A high vegetation park is organized along the  Favagreca viaduct, while gardens of local flora like spices, herbages and colorful flowers are spread on the Carola and the Costa Viola viaducts offering a place close to the town, full of  colors and scents, ideal for people to spend their leisure time and enjoy nature. Between the two viaducts, on land, there is an alternative hosting eco-unit created, a tree-hotel. Trunks in a row create the wall of each room. The facility is equipped with eco-friendly systems and materials.

b)      Arts & Activities: this is the families’ and art lovers’ zone. There are art and exhibition spaces (tunnel Brancato), sport camps e.g. playing mini golf, climbing artificial rock walls, bungee jumping, and unique playgrounds (Catoiu viaduct). The main stage of a small open-air theatre is built on the Rustico viaduct while the rest of its structure extends up to mountain slope. The highlight is an experimental architectural musical installation; architectural shapes constructed in a way to create or intensify sounds either through the wind blow, or a person’s interaction with them, for example by screaming/singing/narrating through/in them or even banging them. The essential part of the each tunnel are its exits. These are the vital places where the activities are developed for example a bar, a restaurant and offices. Towards each tunnels’ centre there are water tanks, air-cleaning systems and electrical installations.

c)       Three elements park: this part consists of three spatial installations that employ alternative energy technologies to produce energy and simultaneously evoke spatial experiences for visitors.
1.     Park of Wind: this construction’s main goal is to “make the bridge disappear behind an artificial cloud” and create both an effect when observing the bridge from a distance and a strong experience when crossing the bridge through this unique structure; a spiral structure covered by revolving white, blue and gray panels embraces the Feliciusu viaduct. The panels’ constant rotation creates the effect of an ever-changing cloud-shaped form that produces Aeolian energy. 

2.     Park of Sun: a futuristic landscape that incorporates the sun’s effects – light, shadow, heat/energy; complementary geometric shapes like “I”, “L”, “T”, “Π”, inspired by Tetris game repeat themselves upon rotation of different axes creating a labyrinth that hinders the passengers’ course. Their difference of height and placement compose a play of light and shadows. Photovoltaic panels are applied on different sides of these constructions capturing the solar energy, while there is a battery system provided for energy maintenance. 

3.     Park of Water: an artificial aquatic landscape inspired by the Japanese bath tradition is constructed in a tunnel in order to create a mystical, humid atmosphere where the gentle babble of water echoes. Watercourses cross in natural flow tunnel and bridge Acqua della Signora in order to keep the tubs’ water clean. Inside the tunnel there is a wooden construction that creates a structure of tubs on different heights and extends outside on the bridge as a wooden deck. The water is channeled in a pipe down to the hydro turbine location for efficient electricity generation. A small part of the energy is used to make the tubs’ water hot. On the tunnel exit there is a small café for visitors to satisfy their thirst and hunger having herbal drinks and healthy bio-snacks.

Along each bridge there are shelters that bear photovolataic panels to achieve the highest level possible of solar energy collection. In addition, under some viaducts there are metal eco-friendly constructions “hanging” which host the researchers and the students.
The park is accessible from its four main entrances (park’s edge borders) through the North/South Roadway and next to every point where the old and the new motorway meet.
Parking spaces are available close to these spots for visitors to park their vehicles and start wandering in the park. Many electric bike stations (photovoltaic solar charging) with bike lockers are set close nearly every one kilometer offering to visitors the alternative of using an electric bike. Cyclists can harvest energy from coasting downhill and use it to help pedal uphill.


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