The ‘Door’ to Locride


The Locride is a strip of land located between the Ionian Sea and the Aspromonte, an area located within the extreme south-east of the Calabrian peninsula, a land rich in natural resources, history and culture.  A territory with a lively orograd, characterised by small villages perched on the mountains and coastal towns that have irremediably erased the history of fishing villages.

However, this land is marginally marked by an infrastructure which has always negatively characterised  the development of this territory. The project explores the insertion of a logistics platform as a strategic infrastructure system which aims to help develop this fragile territory establishing a “door” to Locride. The idea is for this to both becomes a central reference for companies which want to guarantee a structured link able to deliver and pick up products, in the logic of an area CDU (Urban Distribution Center) and the as a crossroad for tourism.

As such this logistics center acts as a “catalyst”, a connection station for buses and minibuses, a new part of services for the city and for the entire district of Locride. Through the synergy of the logistics hub and the agri-food park, the opportunity is expressed to re-valorise tourism through the resources that this territory.


What prompted the project?

The project started with the territorial redevelopment of a portion of the Ionian coast, one of the less densified and populated regions of Italy: Calabria.  An intervention which addressed the towns of Gioiosa Ionica and Marina di Gioiosa Ionica (Province of Reggio Calabria) where we dealt with the relationship between coast and hills. We valued this specific condition of a city in between see and mountain as one which is privileged where two different realities collide.

We found ourselves trying to establish a link between these realities in the background of two apparently different but related themes.The first theme “Shrinking cities” or declining cities, was developed through a lack of services and infrastructures, low attraction of capital and low birth rates, issues that are affecting the majority of towns located in the internal areas of Calabria, Italy but also outside of the country. ( second theme was the impressive traffic of tourist buses in summer travelling along the coast and through the narrow mountain roads.

These two themes were a constant guide when developing the ‘intermodal centre’ – a central infrastructure for the sorting of goods, as well as a transport hub.  One of the major points of the project wasto create a logistics hub which would allow us to manage the traffic through different vehicles, especially mini electric buses and vans which would replace the huge ‘gran tourismo’ buses, reducing the amount of ‘pressure’ onthe whole road network. Thus, the creation of the logistics hub becomean opportunity to establish a built environment, bringing in new economic developments, combining tourism, local production and industries as a means to counteract and revive the shrinking city.

What defined the different drawings through which you choose to reveal the project?What is your take on colour? What role does this play within the images?

It seemed thrilling and interesting to start the project with a Manifesto that introducedthe themes and topics of the projectand our vision.

Subsequently we developed a series of cartographies at an urban scale, where we showed critical and positive aspects of the territory.  Only by understanding the salient points of the latter were we able to then descend and draw the architectural project.

The latter was developed through a 1: 500 scale drawing, followed by drawings at anarchitectural scale.

Finally, to reveal visualisations of the space, we chose to use wire frame technique where we highlighted with yellow, the colour of Bergamot, the elements of attention of the project, namely the food production and the transportation network.In this sense limiting the choice to one colour and the implementation of a precise hierarchy of scales was for us a way to keep an ordinate and clear output with the aim to reach our audience: the local population, stakeholders and administrators in order to provoke discussions and reflections about it.

How did you acquaint yourself with the site? What resources did you use?

We visited the site twice and had the chance to talk with local people and administrators to hear their opinions, ideas, suggestions and complaints. Visiting the site as well assurrounding areas and towns was fundamental to understand the disadvantages and to define an idea of the opportunities within this specific territory.We worked on scientific researches and papers mostly released by the regional planning department for the cartography as GIS data.

How important was the drawing as medium through which to develop the project? What tools did you use?

With a project that focused on two scales so different from each other, we worked hard to find a good graphic uniform language. We decided to use a rather sober ‘style’, fine and elegant, highlighting the themes, aiming for clarity. It was important for us that our drawings should be understood and read by the inhabitants we were designing for.

How have your studies at IUAV shaped you as architect? What are you working on at the moment?

We think that IUAV taught us a lot in terms oftheoretical principles, giving us a strong backbone while designing.

The strong presence of Italian architects such as Aldo Rossi, Bernardo Secchi and Carlo Scarpa in our courses but also in the architecture we are surrounded byhave definedus. The rationality of their architectural projects and functional role, the cleanliness of the design, the essentiality and sometimes the symmetrical proportionsof the spaces are the elements that have shaped us asarchitects.

We have both participated inthe Erasmus program during our first master, Federico Trenna studied at the Leeds Beckett University where he had the opportunity to follow some courses with teachers and graphic tutors of the AASchool and Marco Lucchiari at the Finnish University of Oulu, where it was interesting to work on a very urban scale and get acquainted with 3D laserscanning of buildings.

Currently we are working in two architecture studios based in London and Brussels.