Tribunale di Catania .

Competition projects


Parco Fotovoltaico


Ministero della Giustizia





Project .

The new complex of the judicial offices of the City of Catania is inserted in an urban context rich in aesthetic, cultural and symbolic values, made exclusive and privileged by its overlooking the Ionian Sea – separated from it by the railway line – and the exhibition centre called “LeCiminiere”. These elements, both urban and natural, are certainly pivotal principles for the conception of a design proposal that is both integrated in the urban context and respectful of the landscape component, and that aspires to represent an architectural, as well as institutional, reference for the entire city. The main purpose of the project proposal is to establish an extremely symbolic and unmistakable building in the city, capable at the same time of guaranteeing the right transparency and visibility to the activities that will take place inside, while allowing the population to enjoy the open spaces, re-appropriating areas that have been kept in degradation for too long. The square is the heart of the intervention, a place for rest and relations, for exchange and reflection, ideal for admiring the sea to the east and above all a distribution point allowing easy access to the areas destined for the various functions of the complex. Below it is a large parking area of over 14,700 square metres, well mitigated and not visible from the sea or from the Viale Africa artery: thanks to the presence of a green slope towards the sea, which conceals the lower level, and a system of climbing plants on steel cables that shields the level immediately below the level of the upper square, also on the sea side, the area intended for car parking is perfectly integrated into the context, guaranteeing maximum functionality and almost zero visual impact. In total, the proposal involves an urban volume of 69,840 cubic metres and manages to guarantee a gross area exclusively for the needs of the Catania Court of Law of 1,6530 square metres. The complex essentially consists of two buildings, deliberately shaped differently in terms of both architectural language and size. Their dislocation in the intervention area is determined by three main coinciding considerations. Firstly, the relationship with the serial context, with clear directionality from viale africa towards the sea. This attention has suggested locating the buildings on the sides of the intervention lot, respecting its inclination, thus forming a “cone-shaped” opening towards the sea. In the second place, the opening towards the sea and the relationship with the waterfront are proposed as highly characterising and attractive elements of the project, realised by bringing the open and green space of the park from the square to the level of the railway, finally constituting a filter space set up as a park with seating that accentuates the boundary with the railway and at the same time reduces the distance, bringing the user closer both visually and physically. The intention, already mentioned above, is to enhance the surrounding area, as well as the single lot, with the generation of an episode set up with greenery that appears almost more necessary than useful to the context. The square that is generated, like the related public spaces, is articulated on 4 levels connected by generous and gentle slopes, both paved and green. In its development, the public spaces generate a “promenade” from the street to the sea and vice versa, characterised by dense vegetation that provides colours and scents that change with the seasons. The distribution of ramps and stairways juxtaposed within the site, with the aid also of lift bodies to guarantee complete accessibility, generates a loop and a weave of paths that guarantee a variety of choices for the fruition of the open spaces, allowing the visitor to explore the area, the landscape and the newly constructed buildings from ever different points of view. The North building is characterised by its vast glass curtain wall, a ‘blade’ cutting through the ground, designed to form a true landmark in the area, clearly visible even from the sea. Given the specific characteristics of this façade, it constitutes a “mirror” of the city and the surrounding landscape, reflecting the sky, the Ciminiere and the sea. In relation to the vast functional programme envisaged, it was decided to divide the building internally into two distinct bodies. This choice suggested the opportunity to create a filter-space extending the entire height of the North building. This large “void”-foyer or antechamber-is thought to be effective both for admiring the building’s vast architectural composition and for bringing out its institutional and representative character. In addition, given the presence on both the North and South fronts of full-height glazed structural surfaces, this solution allows for a strong visual permeability in the North-South direction, which is in addition to the East-West permeability arising from the arrangement of the buildings on the site. Finally, the “empty volume” interposed between the Civil Sector Court and the Court of Appeal, goes to constitute an important buffer-space, an effective solution of passive ventilation of the interior spaces. The South Building, smaller in size than the previous one, is intended to recall the prow of a ship heading toward the horizon. This suggestion is made even more evident by the overhang that extends toward the sea. The elevational development of this building is such as to ensure appropriate “respect” towards the adjacent Chimneys, which are of historical/cultural significance. The composition and formal development of the building ensures that it is perceived from the entrance to the site, on Piazzale Asia, as a vast space exclusively public: a “green” ascent, which accompanies the visitor inside the intervention area to a privileged and exclusive viewpoint: the terrace-garden. This space, conceived to be able to admire the surrounding urban/landscape context, has been equipped with comfortable shaded seating and a “reflective pool”: a mirror of water placed in the “bow” of the panoramic terrace that reflects the colors of the sky and the sea which, merging on the horizon, generate in the visitor a special visual suggestion. The “pool” in addition to being a decorative element, constitutes a collection and purification tank of rainwater to be reused for irrigation purposesand an effective expedient of cooling.