JHP on-board for Italian rail revamp

JHP is on track to deliver proposals for the redesign of five further rail stations in Italy next month, as its masterplan for Milan’s Garibaldi Station nears the end of the line.

Italian railway company Centrostazioni has asked for design ideas to maximise commercial revenue at Padova, Brescia, Pisa, Naples and Cagliari.

The brief is about analysing the commercial viability of the stations, which currently lack almost any retail presence, according to JHP senior designer Paul Jones. Making the most of interior spaces without jeopardising the smooth running of the stations is a key consideration, he says.

‘There’s a lot of old stock – grand Victorian and turn-of-the20th century buildings with 1960s and 1970s additions bolted on – most in various degrees of neglect. The spaces need to be read together again,’ Jones adds.

Specific elements of the task involve identifying circulation and flow patterns and facilitating better links between different areas within the stations. This follows the precedent set in Milan where a large atrium is proposed to link a basement subway to a central concourse and office space. In Padova, where a colonnade is the dominant feature, JHP plans to introduce a glazed double-height screen and a mezzanine floor.

Still a largely public sector player, Centrostazioni’s retail experience is limited, Jones adds. ‘We’ve been hinting at facias and signage [ideas]. But that’s still at a very early stage,’ he says.

Plans for the five stations have to be finalised by the end of April. The briefs have come to JHP through what is essentially an informal roster arrangement. Every year, around 46 million passengers use the stations, which range in size from 4000-9000m2.

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