The brief from the City of Naples, to create a fully-functioning tube station that is in itself a work of art, demands a synthesis of purpose and beauty that is fundamental to our creative process. A second primary point of inspiration is the site. At the surface the station will be the central element in the urban and cultural regeneration of the Traiano district that has suffered in its recent history from infrastructural isolation and neglect. Simultaneously the network of tunnels and vaults designed and subsequently abandoned midway through a previous tube station project, describes an underworld barely tangible in the gleaming and sanitary underground spaces of contemporary subway projects. In the shadow of Vesuvius and embedded in layers of early civilisation, these dark and brutal concrete shells have been inspirational to our formal and material approach. We began the process by stretching and moulding plasticine forms, synthesising the primary access requirements within and around the existing negative volumes. As layers of programme have been introduced, the eternal tension between form and function has been worked through while preserving the singular purpose and integrity of the forms. The two entrances to the subway are a response to their particular urban condition. With the backdrop of a mountain the Universita entrance in Corten steel appears to have been pulled from the underground to create a dramatic, powerful and almost primal form. The Triano entrance is a typical urban condition bordered by medium rise residential buildings. Here the more refined aluminium form appears almost impossibly supported as it slips into the void below.
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