Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

This site uses cookies. By using our services, you agree to our cookie use.
Learn more here.

Competition: Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

The City of Bergamo in northern Italy has announced an open international design contest to overhaul its historic Piacentiniano Centre district (Deadline: 5 July)

Open to multidisciplinary teams, the anonymous two-stage competition seeks regeneration proposals for a raft of open spaces, squares and disused buildings within the ‘lower town’ area of the ancient Roman city.

The €2 million project aims to revitalise commercial, social and cultural activity within the Piacentiniano Centre district (pictured) which was constructed in the early 20th century and is a short distance from the ancient ‘upper town’ area, which is waiting to be added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage list.

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Source: Image by Luigi Facchinetti Forlani

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

According to the brief, ‘the competition will transform and redefine the Piacentiniano Centre and its uses through the overhaul of open areas, squares and public spaces. It asks for proposals that will strengthen and renovate its role as the identity generator of the city centre, improve its livability and re-use the discarded public and private buildings.’

Bergamo was founded by ancient Celts and later recognised by Julius Ceasar as a municipal town in 49 BC. It grew to become a major centre of manufacturing and trade during the Renaissance and later centuries. The city is split between the walled upper town on the hills and the lower town which hosts Bergamo’s financial, industrial and administrative centres.

Stretching from Francesco Petrarca street in the north to Largo Porta Nuova street in the south, the Piacentiniano Centre is a planned district created in the early 20th century on the site of a former open air market ground. The Classically-styled area was mostly constructed during the 1930s and based on competition-winning designs by Italian architect Marcello Piacentini and engineer Giuseppe Quaroni.

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Teams of architects, engineers and other related experts are invited to submit anonymous conceptual plans to rejuvenate the area in the competition’s first round. The contest focuses on the city’s Piazza Dante, Quadriportico del Sentierone, Piazza Cavour and the east side of the Sentierone avenue.

Submissions should include two A2-sized boards featuring 3D graphics along with axonometric, elevation and site plan drawings. A written report on 15 sides of A4 will also be required. Applications will be evaluated on architectural quality; economic, social and environmental sustainability and costs.

Five finalists will then be invited to participate in the second stage during which they will be required to develop more detailed concepts and form teams demonstrating the financial, technical and professional capacity needed to deliver the scheme.

The overall winner, to be announced 9 February, will receive a €30,000 prize and will work with the client to develop schemes for the city’s Piazza Dante and Quadriportico areas.

The estimated design fee for the winning team is €149,000. Four additional prizes worth €15,000 each will also be shared between the runners ups.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for applications is 12noon local time on 5 July

Contact details

Comune di Bergamo
Piazza Matteotti 27
24122 Bergamo
Italy

Tel: +39 035 399111
Email: protocollo@cert.comune.bergamo.it

Visit the competition website for more information

View the contract notice for more information

Q&A with Francesco Valesini

The deputy mayor for urban regeneration, private and social housing, and real estate discusses his ambitions for the contest

Francesco Valesini

Francesco Valesini

Francesco Valesini

Why are your holding an international contest to regenerate the lower city of Bergamo?

Bergamo is a small city with a strong industrial tradition, based on the textile industry and mechanical engineering. Its urban development defined two unique and separate parts divided by the Venetian walls: the Upper Town, now waiting to enter the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the Lower Town, the financial, industrial and administrative centre of the city in which the Piacentiniano Centre is located. Bergamo’s surroundings host the third busiest airport by passenger traffic in Italy (Orio al Serio), a fundamental infrastructure also for a new touristic vocation of the city. The city has high potential and is now facing a deep enhancement process that needs many good ideas, national and international.

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Source: Image by Luigi Facchinetti Forlani

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

What is your vision for the open areas, public squares and disused buildings of the area?

At this moment, an urban design competition in Italy is important for many reasons not primarily connected to sustainability nor innovation issues. The theme of the urban development has been left apart for a long time, with generally poor answers given to fundamental questions. The Piacentiniano Centre is 115,000m², with many open and public spaces and small but historical shops that are progressively disappearing under the pressure of the big companies. Furthermore the area encloses 18,000m² of abandoned land where the General Masterplan wants to attract international brands usually found in peripheral shopping malls. With this competition we want to use the public spaces and squares as the sewing elements of an urban tissue with renewed functions and invert a quite common paradigm: small shopkeepers in the centre and international and global brands outside. Secondarily, the process will confirm the former and original identity of the area, that from the middle of 19th-century hosted the Fair then replaced by the Piacentini’s project.

What sort of architects and designers are you hoping will apply?

The Piacentiniano Centre was designed by a young Marcello Piacentini and we hope the history repeats itself. We’re searching for young and mature designers in a competition that requires above all talent and professionalism.

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Source: Image by Luigi Facchinetti Forlani

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Which other design opportunities are on the horizon and how will the architects be procured?

In the last two years Bergamo has been a vital city in continuous transformation, with the municipality promoting five competitions. The first was launched in 2015 with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti to plan the transformation of the former Montelungo and Colleoni barracks and was won by the Italo-Catalan duo Barozzi-Veiga. In 2016 three other competitions asked for the redefinition of three squares (Carrara, Risorgimento and Alpini) while another was for a new pavilion inside the grounds of the new hospital. Now we have the sixth, that aims to regenerate the Piacentiniano Centre. In the future we will think about interventions in the Piacentini’s area (the winning team will be entrusted only with the project of the first two smaller areas, respectively 4,000m² and 14,000m², in a group of five), and we are thinking about the new Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery (Gamec).

Are there any other similar revitalisations of urban areas you have been impressed by?

Each regeneration project comes directly from local demands and characters, and it’s very difficult to find similar situations and contexts. Each city answers in a unique way to the questions asked by the regeneration process and produces different results.

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

Source: Image by Luigi Facchinetti Forlani

Piacentiniano Centre, Bergamo

 

 

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.