Status: Delivered

Program: Urban development of Piazza Transalpina/ TRG Evrope and Design of the EPICenter

Budget: N/A

Client: Municipality of Gorizia, Municipality of Nova Gorica

Location: Gorizia-Nova Gorica

Design: 2020

Team: Chiara Manca, Elisabetta Paglia, Maurizio Scarciglia

The Masterplan. GO Circular!

The Gorizia-Nova Gorica urban region shows a healthy demographic trend, with a discrete supply of services and a high quality of life. Economically characterized by industry and agriculture, Gorizia-Nova Gorica would benefit of an improved infrastructural cross-border connection, through the reactivation of the Transalpina Station, desirable in the near future to boost its role of European cross-border tourism destination.

We believe that Gorizia-Nova Gorica should preserve this suburban identity, yet aim at the development of functionally complementary centres. The project area would become the new central cluster for the definition of a new stronger urban region, capable of competing on the international market, yet clearly stating a circular vocation. The current climate crisis asks for re-thinking the cities’ future, for this reason, we base the whole master plan on completing the local existing potential. We propose to start the development by defining a light infrastructure for pedestrians and bikes, enabling all residents to move freely between the cities. The layout of this new regional route becomes the spine of the new green and blue strategy.

The plot towards Nova Gorica is completed, creating a clear urban front of new housing and mixed-use buildings which will allow testing different housing types for different family patterns. The public plinth offers continuous commercial spaces to create an active 24/7 urban front. Nova Gorica’s side continues with an elongated park that follows the railway lines, offering agriculture as well as public activities and sports.

Likewise, the Gorizia side is developed longitudinally through the “Makers Campus”. To the south, the park ends with the new EPICenter square and building landmark. We propose to locate the pedestrian and bikes bridge in the area over the railway as this is the densest functional cluster. At the south masterplan, Nova Gorica presents an irregular pattern of private residential allotments. We complete it with clear circular clusters, while the Gorizia side is re-ordered through a patchwork of rural fields, preserving the existing heritage.

Stazione Transalpina square and EPICenter. A vertical landscape

Located at the end of the Makers Park, the square is an extension of the park itself. By spreading the mass horizontally we respect the vertical monumentality of the station, saving its central view from via G. Caprin. By doing so, we define a building composed of light surfaces softly curved to shape a catenary roof. This roof hosts the actual new square: an elevated plateau from which a beautiful view over the borderline will allow an unimpeded perception of the unified cities while offering a protected cosy stage for every possible social happening. A temporary tent fixed to the short sides of the building and on top of the tower (supported by a tensile steel cables structure), will offer shadow in the hot seasons.

In section, the building is characterized by four levels. The underground hosts temporary and permanent exhibition spaces. This floor hosts a simple parking garage that offers easy logistic for the exhibition space.  The square is freed from any car, limiting vehicular accessibility only from the west kiss and ride area and defining a clear pedestrian gallery on lever zero, open 24/7. Emergency exits, ramps and stairs are accurately distributed to preserve all historical trees on the site. The elevated podium’s clear separation makes it easy to achieve an independent operation of social activities. On top, the roof landscape is reachable by means of slow stairs and a long ramp that, starting in the park, allows everybody to reach the upper square even when all amenities are closed.

The tower becomes a landmark, as well as the tool to look over the new unified centre. Besides choosing a traditional structural type, typical of sports halls, with a clear construction process, we chose very few finishing materials, such as concrete and locally supplied wood, aiming at strengthening circularity principles and budget control. The circulation system becomes pivotal for the distribution of the volumes, dissolving the building into a vertical landscape, open to all citizens and symbolic of democracy and European values of solidarity and cooperation.


Project name: 深圳市工人文化宫整体改造工程建筑方案设计国际竞赛
International bidding of Architectural SD for Overall Renovation of Shenzhen Working People’s Cultural Palace Shenzhen Luohu Cultural Palace

Status: Design Proposal

Program: Renovation of Shenzhen working people’s cultural palace

Total built area: 60.000 sqm

Budget: N/A

Client: Shenzhen Luohu Municipality Government

Location: Shenzhen, China

Design: 2019-2020

Team: Elisabetta Paglia, Fan Hao, Maurizio Scarciglia

The site reserved for the Cultural Palace is positioned between very contrasting and high-pressure contexts within Luohu district. To the west, it presents the opportunity to relate with the natural element of the Buji river while reconnecting to the residential development and the school.

This connection results complicated by the presence of the railway line. For this reason, we propose to build a pedestrian and Bicycles bridge above 22m, capable to overcome the obstacle of the railway. In order to motivate such an infrastructural intervention, the bridge will become an integral part of the TOD strategy, transforming the project into a major urban hub.


The new south-east commercial basement creates a continuity with the existing commercial fabric of historical Dongmen area. This continuity is strengthened by the proximity of the new metro station that contributes to consolidate the south entrance of the Cultural Palace as the densest point of arrival and the most important direction of continuity with the Luohu Centre.

Particular attention is given to the Ground Floor and the Basement conception. This ‘ urban infrastructure’ preserves the scale of a village, while offering the new cultural complex a metropolitan relevance and appearance.


The main design concept focuses on a system of vertical landscapes, a stratification of terraces that disentangle the program by creating vertical public spaces. The terrace system and the shift of the volumes contribute to control green and shading, improving the overall environmental performance of the complex. Architecture, water elements and green are meant to create a new unity for the site, in which the boundary between indoor and outdoor spaces is erased.

At the centre of the site, right at the connection between cultural, digital and sports program, we position the only volume suspended from the ground.  The occupation of the ground with the building is compensated by the maximization of the roofscape, which blends architecture and landscape in a continuous. By doing so the visitors can cross the whole Cultural Palace either approaching every single building or by entering the Digital Cloud and move then internally to each functional cluster or through the external roof loop.

As for the attention dedicated to the internal program distribution, the site is organized to create a narrative of public spaces and a logical system of squares and gardens that properly react to volume massing and shading. Visitors arriving from the densely frequented Dongmen commercial area will be welcomed this active square.  This will clearly announce the cultural programing of cinema, theatre and performing arts. The lake becomes the centralizing element of the urban ensemble, collecting a necklace of squares and lobbies to the different buildings. The generous shadows and the digital cloud will facilitate the use of open-air spaces for sports activities even in the extreme warm summers.












Invited competition

Program: landscape and urban design for the artificial island above the underwater connection between highway S3 and Hubin W Rd

Total site area: 13.5 ha

Client: The People’s Government of Bao’an District in Shenzhen & Urban Planning, Land & Resources Commission of Shenzhen Municipality

Location: Shenzhen, China

Year: 2018 – 2019

Team: NAUTA architecture & research, VTLab London, Metrostudio Shenzhen


How to mitigate the negative effects of an infrastructure based on car traffic and design it to rather adapt nature to the transformations that climate change will bring?

The Shenzhen government is planning to rethink a relatively new portion of the Highway along the Pearl river delta. This infrastructure will soon intersect another highway, which entering the bay, will turn into the Shenzhen-Zhuhai bridge.

In order to minimize the environmental impact of this structure, the government is planning to move the highways’ intersection underwater.
Feasibility studies have been carried out in order to evaluate the impact of such structure, as well as the costs and benefits of different structural typologies.

We have been invited to envisage the potential for transforming this artificial island from a mere technical ventilation shaft into a landscape landmark.
We entered this challenge trying minimizing the impact of the infrastructure and design it as a self-sustainable cluster; An island capable of producing its own energy, collect and discharge rain water, use it for its natural cycles, reuse and compost its waste, react to water rise by defending the interior landscape, while leaving its outer boundary to flood when necessary, produce algae for water phytodepuration and as natural fertilizer; An enclosed natural circle, as much as possible not depending on the depletion of external energy sources.

Our project creates a thematic island that includes leisure, nature and sustainable energies production. An underground parking makes the upper landscape accessible only by boat, feet, bike or small electric vehicles.