An act from the Municipality of Bologna from 1288 established that all new homes had to be built with a “portico”, guaranteeing its public use. And more than half a century earlier, in the early 1200s, it had been decided to create a large open space in the urban fabric, free of buildings, to be used for the needs of meeting, discussion or commercial exchange. This void in the historic center would become Piazza Maggiore, the first square in Italy after the fall of the Roman empire.
These two historical events show the profound connection in Bologna between the built environment and the public space, and between commerce and culture. Perhaps here, more than anywhere else, architecture is literally a backdrop that defines public space; it is the true essence of the city that is sculpted by the marginal presence of private buildings.
The project therefore presents itself as the combination of three public places, that preserve the rest of the area as a natural urban forest, where the nature took over in the last decades.
The first place is the headquarters of the Agenzia, consisting of offices and archives at the service of the community.The second place is a square among the trees. A playground open to the neighborhood different from the surrounding public spaces. A square that allows you to get away from traffic and immerse yourself in the nature, in a social space but also reserved and protected at the same time. A place that is not just a roof, but that has the scale of a public space, with a dimension very close to that of Piazza Maggiore. The third place is a covered square, which takes up the idea of the Bolognese portico as an accessible, informal space sheltered from the elements. A porch that characterizes the entire ground floor that quickly transforms according to needs. In few hours from parking it becomes theater, from market to party space.