Master Plan for the High-Speed Railway Station in Florence

Firenze, First prize international competition and consulting project feasibility, 1997-1999

Alberto Breschi, Loris Macci, Sergio Mazzoni, Marco Sala, Luca Zevi, Transit Design, Bruno Zevi




The Master Plan attempts to combine urban rehabilitation and restoration with the expression of a new individuality of high architectural value. The main objectives are aimed at ensuring the urban and architectural role and the insertion of the new High-Speed station into the urban fabric, in anticipation of the deep modification that will result from the building of the station itself. The philosophy behind the Plan and the project is based on the reorganisation of the central station of S. Maria Novella; its integration with the new High-Speed station, following a system of structures, services and functions in logical and organic sequence, which determines a balanced extension towards the territory, through a partial dilution of the functions and accesses which will be reinforced and increased.
The project for the new station becomes the occasion for redesigning an entire urban section, whose functional style is a union between architecture and landscape: a large, equipped linear park houses and joins the new urban functions, connecting them to the existing ones, and offers to the city a modern centre capable of relieving congestion in the historical centre and enhancing it. Furthermore, the project creates the expansion and integration of the congress-exhibition system next to the envisaged High-Speed station, Stazione-Fermata Belfiore, with additional facilities and services. The Plan and the project envisages the building of a new large architectural structure including the access to the underground High-Speed railway station, and of a new exhibition area. The planivolumetric configuration is in scale with the urban and landscape dimension, and is characterised by the presence of a large covering which is adapted as a hanging garden and by a volume shaped as a square-shelter, facing the historical centre of the city. The station for High-Speed trains is envisaged inside an underground space covered with large glazed volumes placed on different heights in order to redesign the existing volumes which will be demolished during the first phase of the project. This first proposal presented in the Master Plan was not carried out; a new project was subsequently reformulated, characterised by a large transparent covering under which all the functional sections of the station and the new and innovative commercial and exhibition functions are placed. The preexisting structures are integrated into a unitary design with a strong urban value, which becomes the new typological sign which characterises the station of the new millenium, configured as a multi-functional “covered square”.