The Corners


MWD – Metropolis without density – The Veneto Case


Freek Persyn (51N4E)

Ambra Fabi

Giovanni Piovene (Salottobuono)


Student:  Tommaso Facchini

Accademia di Architettura di Mendrisio – Spring Semester 2012



Corners types



Designing a common space on the roman grid intersections

The shape of infrastructure in this part of Veneto region is based on the old design of roman grid. This design had mainly an agricultural function that has now for the most part been lost.

Decumani and cardines intersect and create a network of perfect square with a 700 m long facet, the centuriae. This structure led to urbanize along the limits, to maintain the maximum area of the squares cultivated. As a result agglomerations have a very low density, which requires the use of high-speed transport, the majority of which is private.

Driving through a diffuse city can be confusing, the straight network development speeds up the movement thus making it difficult to acquire orientation points.

The general low-rise urbanization becomes a homogeneous belt that runs through the window of the car. Places of public and private nature are alternated without logic, if not in village centers. Sites are mixed in the memories, and an overall image replaces the multitude of landscapes.

Only in the vicinity of the crossings the speed of the car decreases and allows to recognize the sorrounding objects, and even in this case the flatness of the styles generates confusion.

In a place where the distance between people and places is such that can be traveled only by car, slow points become really important.





I decided to follow the decumano maximo, to analyze the different situations that occur at intersections. This road crosses the territory of the Camposampierese from one extreme to the other, cutting through several conurbations with different densities. The range goes from purely rural intersections to other that coincides with the center of the community.

In this last situation streets are designing the shape  of the public space, and the way people deals with it.

Also the relationship of the buildings with the street changes depending on their nature: private buthat exemildings tend to keep distance from traffic, while commercial and public buildings tend to get closer to the street. This reflects also on the location of the parkings related to the buildings.

Among all cases I found four different situations that exemplify the analyzed cases.




As a result of the analysis I noted that some intersections have the potential to become a new type of public space. Commercial and public activities tend to concentrate in these corners, but the supremacy of the car cancels any possibility of use by the pedestrians. To change the situation is necessary to level the relationship between the two categories.

I then tried to find out what were the techniques to make a space more pedestrian-friendly.  The discipline of “traffic calming” uses various escamotage in order to reduce the speed of the car and facilitating the movement of pedestrians: speed bumps, roundabouts, noisy stripes,… Some of them are already used in Camposampiarese, but were ineffective.

The intersection i decided to work on is in Borgoricco. Here the daily traffic does not exceed 10000 vehicles with peaks, early in the morning and late in the afternoon, that are generated by the flow of people to reach the workplace. It is therefore possible to remove the traffic lights and regulate the intersection with a priority system.

New techniques such as “naked streets” or “shared surfaces” are proved to be more.The data I collected on site and received from the municipality, compared to the values needed to apply these techniques, gave a positive result. In order to work the approach  has to be systematic and cover a series of consecutive intersections.

The project aims to create a common surface, for cars and for people. A continuous floor that does not create different levels of mobility. A grained modular paving that changes shade during the day. When car traffic is at most, during the morning and during the evening, modules on either side of the road are darker. This way the driver will have no difficulty in recognizing the limits of the road. During the rest of the day, when the pedestrian traffic is more dense, all tiles will be the same creating an hybrid space for people and cars.

A fast and economical technique to produce this effect is to “print on the asphalt”. With just 3 centimeter of asphalt, 3 men can print up to 2000 m2 in one day. The process is simple: two men are placing and removing metal grids, while the third one uses a machine that presses the grid on the asphalt, leaving the desired engraving.



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