Como and its lake
The northern Italian city of Como is a jewel set at the foot of the mountains of Lombardy surrounding Lake Como. The city has great potential with regard to tourism, commerce, services and fashion design enhanced by its close proximity to Milan. Its eccentric geography and urban morphology currently limit accessibility to the city prompting a new means of waterfront mobility which can generate new opportunities for the redevelopment of the city. Because frequent flooding of the lake is a limitation Mecanoo, in collaboration with Mauro Parravicini has created an integrated water defense system within a unified waterfront design. By prioritizing pedestrian and bicycle circulation and implementing the relationship between the City, its main piazza and the lake, the design is not only sustainable, but feasibly economical.
Sustainable mobility for an integrated solution
The main project goals are to define an identity for the waterfront; to integrate the waterfront with the city of Como; to give back Piazza Cavour to the citizens; to naturally connect through the waterfront all means of mobility and to realize an economically feasible and sustainable project.
sustainable mobility: the creation of a large pedestrian carpet along the waterfront; the creation of two parking-terminals at the east and west ends of the waterfront, the first one in the water, the other one in the old stadium transformed into a multifunctional tourist anchor (hotel, residence, fitness, commerce, swimming pool); the conversion of the east coast into a permanent pedestrian promenade with the provision of an electric shuttle bus along the coast line; the possibility of renting electric bicycles in the main areas of the city; water-taxi service and the construction of an pedestrian bridge as landmark between the international railway station and the path to the waterfront.
A boundless experience along the water
Circular shapes dominate the design. A timeless archetypical form, circles are a modern transposition of the traditional arch-shaped pavements in the existing promenade and a metaphor of drops in the water. Without boundaries, the circular pattern unifies pedestrian and car paths into a continuous space.
The first rings of stones in the main square grow into circular green islands and seats towards the park at the west side. Towards the historical city center the circles dissolve into the granite pavement. By night they light up with LED under the benches, in the floor and within the large water pond in Piazza Cavour.
The pavilions of the ticket office, the new bar and the technical volume in the park as well as the street furniture and the bus stops are designed as a family of elements and are fully integrated into design. The theme and the materials continue from the square towards the water through the street lanes, where the automobile is guest in predominantly pedestrian domain. The project strengthens the link between city and lake. Piazza Cavour marks the integration between the historic city pavement and the new theme of the waterfront. The urban design helps solve the dichotomy between the active business oriented city and the tourist centric one.
A sustainable project
Strong priority has been given to pedestrians and sustainable mobility by integrating the two new parking areas to the public transport system and bicycle paths. The park on the west is designed to educate visitors about renewable energies, and its green surface extends towards the Piazza Cavour. The flow of green from the mountain park “Spina Verde” towards the edge of the historical city is also desirable. The new stone pavement is largely made up of existing stones, and materials have been selected from nearby quarries. The lighting system uses high efficiency, low consumption lamps. The pavilions along the waterfront are provided with solar panels along their large roofs. The roofs also collect rain water for the bathrooms and provide sun shading allowing passive cooling.