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REORGANIZATION OF HISTORIC PIAZZA MERCATALE, Prato// Italy

Type One phase public competition organized by Comune di Prato (1st price) // In stand-by
Time lapse January 2002 (competition) // January-september 2007 (project)
Numbers Estimated budget: 3,5 mln € // Total area: 30.000 m2
Team Alessandro Scarnato (in charge) // Lisa Ariani // Riccardo Sandias // Andrea Volpe

Piazza Mercatale is the biggest historical square in Europe with more than 30.000 m2. The space is now non-organized and confused, with a surface parking and a small garden, beloved by the inhabitants but almost abandoned.

The proposal divides the  square in two sectors: the north (the triangular one) is the natural ending for the middle-age streets of the center of the town. Is a sort-of big terrace paved in stone separated by the south sector (the rectangular one) by an evocative building: a Civic Pavilion which is, in the same time, visual separation and visual link between the two sectors. The garden will be reorganized in such a way that it will be an effective element of  urban space, a vital scenario for the activities that will take place in Piazza Mercatale once renewed.

The project won the international competition in 2002, and has been developed with an important added element: a 750-places subterranian parking. The competition project actually considered the possibility to provide the underground with infrastructural services. The parking gives the opportunity to add a practical function to the central pavillon. It’a link between the two  sectors and between the surface and the underground, joining together the visual and the compositive effects with the functional and structural ones.