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Competition: Railway Service Centre, Naples

An open international ideas contest has been announced to transform Naples’ decaying Bayard station into a new mixed-use ‘service centre’ (Deadline: 11 January)

Open to everyone competing as individuals or in groups of up to five, the ‘NAPOLICALL’ competition seeks proposals to transform the dilapidated and partially-disused former Italian rail terminus into a landmark new hotel and office complex for the local area.

The project will resurrect the 2,000m2 structure which was originally built for a historic 1839 railway connecting Naples with nearby Portici 4.5 miles away. The former railway services building now hosts a museum but is in need of urgent repair. Proposals for a new landscaped public green space are also required.

Contest site

Contest site

Contest site

According to the brief: ‘The competition aims to enhance the building by identifying a new function; the intervention will have to safeguard part of the previous masonry walls and foresee contemporary-style logics as happened for the recovery project of the nearby BRIN69 building.

‘It will become a service centre with hotel rooms and offices that allows people in transit to find a temporary location and to the local community to rent new work spaces as identified by urban planning for the area of Naples East.’

Located near Piazza Nolana at 390 Corso Giuseppe Garibaldi, Bayard station is a neglected historic structure situated close to the Naples waterfront and Porta Nolana train station.

Bayard Station, Naples

Bayard Station, Naples

Bayard Station, Naples

The competition focuses on three separate elements on the overgrown site. The first must be transformed into new offices while the second must be either converted into or rebuilt as a new hotel featuring up to 20 rooms. The third structure must be demolished and replaced with offices.

The competition is organised by Instaura.it, a research and information hub founded by Andrea Damiati to enhance the productivity of the architecture and design networks in southern Italy. The contest is inspired by the recent restoration of the nearby Brin69 building by Vulcanica Architects.

Proposals may be up to 15 metres in height and should be able to accommodate between 200 and 300 visitors every day. A landscaped public space and road access to an underground car park for 20-to-30 cars will also be required.

Digital submissions should include one A0-sized horizontal display board featuring diagrams along with one A4-sized displaying a 4,000-character description and summary. The overall winners of the two categories, one featuring a €500 prize and the other a €1,000 prize, will be announced on 3 February.

How to apply

Deadline

The deadline for submissions is 23:59 local time (CET) on 11 January

Fee

The entry fee is €20-25 for participants competing for the €500 prize
The entry fee is €30-35 for single participants or groups competing for the €1,000 prize

Contact details

Email: instauralab@gmail.com

View the competition website for more information

Q&A with Stefano Lento and Andrea Damiati

The organisers discuss their ambitions for the competition

Stefano Lento and Andrea Damiati

Stefano Lento and Andrea Damiati

Stefano Lento and Andrea Damiati

Why are your holding an annual international contest for a new service centre on Italy’s first railway?

INSTAURA.it is a platform that promotes the rediscovery of territory, using restoration to enhance local identities. In collaboration with the STARTFORTALENTS.net, which has been promoting competitions for young talent for the last six years, we are looking a recovery solution for this symbolic architecture of Naples: the first Italian railway, now in a state of neglect. 

What is your vision for this new service centre?

The station is located between the metropolis and the suburban areas. Restoring the existing building and maintaining its old function would not have been appropriate. We believe that a new service centre, with offices and hotels to welcome travellers arriving in Naples, is necessary. We aren’t imposing constraints or specific requests for environmental protection; we want the participants to offer us futuristic visions to trigger change. Often bureaucratic constraints become a way to not realise the work.

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

The STARTFORTALENTS.net platform, which is promoting the contest, always aims its initiatives at young designers or students of architecture, engineering and design. The intention of this competition is the same: we are not asking for projects from established professionals; we want to offer participants an opportunity to start building their portfolio.

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

We will continue to devise competitions that allow projects with a contemporary vision to fit into contexts with a strong historical identity. We also plan to continue our workshop activities. Our last experience, MateraLab, has allowed us to bring to Matera, one of Italy’s oldest cities, young architects from all over the world and to collect excellent proposals. We like to spread the culture of architecture in every form; it is a fundamental part of our mission.

Are there any other recent railway service centre projects you have been impressed by?

In Italy, disused railways aren’t included in interesting recovery programmes, which is why we held this competition. However, we can mention the DOCK project in Marseilles, a recovery project carried out by the 5 + 1 AA studio, in an interesting area of commercial interchange. In this case too, an old disused factory has become a service centre able to become a building that is a symbol of attraction for one of the rapidly expanding urban areas. These are the projects we like, – those in which the contemporary meets the ancient.