The unique design concept from Italian architects Angelo Salamone and Rossella Di Bari successfully combines a bridge and a car park without any negative impact on the landscape
The architects' design proposal, which combines a bridge and a multi-storey car park in a single sustainable building, enabled it to scoop second prize in the international competition of ideas for a car park in the mountainous region of Moena in Italy.
The competition was launched by the Municipal Administration of Moena, a popular tourist region of Italy, who tasked the architects with creating a sustainable bridge and parking facility with some 240 parking spaces in an area of around 15,000 cubic metres, whilst ensuring minimal impact on the mountains that form the natural landscape in the region.
The road bridge is needed to connect the two neighbourhoods of Moena that are located on either side of the river, and the winning entry linked those two areas while finding space for a large car park.
But rather than simply erect a bridge next to a very expensive, and unsustainable - both from a financial and environmental perspective - multi-storey car park hidden in the side of the mountain, the team proposed building a hybrid car park-bridge on two supports, thereby combining the two in a single structure. Their plans calls for a green-roofed bridge has a car park both inside and above it.
Although the shape of the site identified for the car park would normally mean that large excavation works and extended containment works would be necessary to prevent landslides, the firm sought to avoid any such works unless absolutely necessary in order to protect the beautiful surrounding natural landscape. The architects wanted to keep the green space free of buildings, aiming to promote open-air activities and creating a pedestrian and cycling lane.
The initial bridge, mandated in the competition brief, was widened to about 36 metres, roughly half of which comprises a roadway, and the other half is home to a roof garden that offers views of the village and the mountains to the north.
Salamone and Di Bari's proposal calls for a new public park which can be reached by people coming from the car park, and offers general access for pedestrian and bikes through a system of ramps.
It also calls for a bike sharing station that can be used by tourists and local residents, who can leave their car in the car park and continue their visit by bike. In the main pedestrian entrance to the parking area there is a resting spot and an information point. There is also a bar facing towards the mountains and valley, offering amazing views of the surrounding landscape.
While the new bridge blends harmoniously with the surroundings, the interior space was designed to maximise the number of parking spaces available. The main load-bearing structure was designed around the perimeter on the north and south sides of the building. This allows for the absence of pillars between the cars, making the car park safer and more comfortable for drivers.
The construction of the bridge requires steel beams arranged 2.5 metres apart, which support a series of prefabricated elements each measuring 16 metres long by 2.5 metres wide. Thanks to the prefabricated elements, the construction system is very economical.
Inside the building, half of the area on each level has sloping floors, which serve as a vertical connection between levels. An elevator and an open staircase connect the three levels with the open areas on the green roof.
The large roof garden on top of the bridge will offer unprecedented spectacular views, providing a double-sided perspective of the countryside on the south and the peaks to the north.
While the car park is hidden under the bridge, the green area on the bank of the river will remain undeveloped and will become a park, with bicycle and pedestrian tracks.
Finally, the soil extracted from the bridge's construction site can be used to model ramps which are in line with the natural slope of the land. This creates a small natural amphitheater which can be used as an open-air cinema, a place for community events and cultural activities, a theatre, and, in winter as the site for an ice skating rink, Christmas markets and children's playgrounds.