Power Park proposed for Parco Solare Sud

This proposal for the re-use of Italy’s Autostrada del Sole capitalizes on the site’s inherent qualities. It offers a linear park system that merges zones for recreation and social exchange with centers for high tech research and energy production. The aim is to provide linear laboratory that engages the local community, the greater scientific community and casual passers-by.

While the north-south carriageway is to be reserved as a vehicular path linking Scila and Bagnara, the south-north carriageway is re-imagined as a landscaped pedestrian zone. While sections of the carriageway would be re-surfaced with lawns, beach-scapes, skate-parks and boardwalks, other parts might be left to overgrow and return to their natural state. The result is a path that offers variety of recreational spaces, some for formal activities and others for relaxation and repose. Gondolas, roads and walking paths connect the park to adjacent villages.

The tunnels and the viaducts provide surfaces for testing the production of energy. They make use of two renewable energy sources innate to Southern Italy: sun and wind.

Large screens composed of small wind and solar catchers hang beneath the viaducts. Calabria’s breezes accelerate beneath the viaducts turning small turbines that harvest wind energy. The turbines themselves are coated in solar cells that are able to harness the sun’s invisible, infrared rays. Suspended beneath the bridge, these energy harvesting screens gain maximum exposure to sun and wind while causing minimum obstruction to views.

The highway tunnels are perforated with large holes drilled through the mountains. Vertical tubes penetrate the tunnel roofs and, through the stack effect, suck air upwards. The air’s vertical velocity rotates a turbine at the top of the tube which, in turn, generates power. This power, together with the renewable energy harvested by the suspended screens provides electricity used to illuminate the park at night. The rest of the energy is stored and later used by Calabria’s residents.

Holes drilled horizontally through the mountain’s sides are equipped with telescopic lenses that provide magnified views of the abutting seascape. The vertical and horizontal tubes bring natural light into the, otherwise, dark tunnel. They activate the passage-ways making the previously uninviting tunnels, accessible and desirable to pedestrians.

Research laboratories inhabit glazed boxes suspended beneath the viaducts. The house work stations for researchers and learning centers for park visitors.