Bus Station For Piazzale Roma, Italy

Whereas trains arrive and depart along a straight line, buses make a loop around a roundabout. The new bus station, which won first prize in the open international competition sponsored by the City and Biennale of Venice, organises movement in the form of a circus, a giant turn-around that expresses the cul de sac at the end of the causeway. The perimeter provides 20 platform spaces, the inner radial arrangement of buses allows space for 30 empty buses and coaches. In the centre is a café and rest-room for drivers.

The circular form arises as a mechanical solution to the organisation of the buses. At the same time it is a spatial idea, a new room in the city. But there is a distinction between this space, occupied more by buses than people, and the typical urban spaces in the rest of the city. People occupy only the perimeter and disperse radially into the surrounding city.

The new facility forms an interchange between buses, vaporetti, and pedestrian routes. It is designed to accommodate the extremes of summer and winter weather in the city, as well as dissipating dangerous diesel fumes.

The construction is of concrete, which supports a rudimentary glass and steel cantilevered canopy that was inspired by the traditional Roman parasol. Rain is allowed to fall from the inner edge of the canopy as a cylindrical wall of droplets, through which only the buses have to penetrate. On hot summer days, this giant water sculpture can be turned on and the water curtain induces a downward movement of cool air towards waiting pedestrians – an oasis in the hot city.