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shaping the piazza

lastra a signa, italy

starbucks™ viewing deck


project introduction Lastra a Signa is located 13 kilometers, due west of the city of Firenze. As an outpost between Pisa and Firenze, the city was fortified with large stone walls. Today the city acts mainly as a hub of trade between the two cities, providing agriculture and manufacturing to the region. With a focus in revitalization, the project was to reshape the piazza space in the center of town, as well as adding a public library for the area. The site is located in the center of town and composed of two parts: -Spedale di sant’ antonio Originally a poorhouse, said to be designed by Brunelleschi. The building is strategically positioned at the junction of two main town roads. -Piazza geribaldi The largest open space in Lastra a Signa’s old district. This area is ideally suited for town congregation not only by its location, but size as well.

01.1 analysis . photos


arno ri

firenze site

lastra a signa

ponte a signa

lastra a signa

+002 regional relationships +002 regional relationships

+001 national realtionship +001 national relationships

santa maria della misericordia spedale di sant’antonio piazza garibaldi

open air cinema

andrew housing +001 site panorama . view south west

+003 site panorama . view south west


vicolo della misericordia

site analysis In reviewing the site documentation, three major temporal polls were discovered; daily life in conjunction with the residents of Lastra a Signa, youthful activity from the kindergarten, and the historical experience provided by Brunelleschi’s portico.

daily life


The major ambitions of the project were derived by a desire to create an environment which was able to unify the three groups on the site. With most of the population leaving the city for any type of public activity, it became apparent that only by inviting the youth of the city to remain within the confines of the town walls, would the town ensure it future.


02.1_integration . planning 01.2 analysis . relationships

+001 lastra a signa +001 lastra a signa

+002 internal context +002 internal context

+001 +003 vehicular traffic direction void context

+001 traffic direction

+002 pedestrian traffic direction

+002 pedestrian direction

+004 wall barriers +003 wall barriers

+005 wall openings +004 wall openings

focal points +003 +006 vehicular traffic intensity

+003 traffic intensity

+004 pedestrian traffic intensity

+004 pedestrian intensity

+001 existing arcade +001 existing arcade

+002 redefined gallery +002 redefined gallery arcadearcade

+003 arcade study +003 arcade study

+004 arcade study +004 arcade study

+001 cinema plan +002 cinema elevation +005 outdoor cinema studies

+004 cinema study +005 screen and viewer relationship +006 outdoor cinema studies

+003 cinama perspective

01.2 analysis . piazza planning

starbucks™ viewing deck canopies


gallery addition

+001 primary barriers barriers +001threshold primary threshold

+002 existingstructure structure +003additions additions to to existing

open.air cinema auditorium seating parental lounge

public court +002 zones +003 zones

design execution . piazza A child oriented environment was created through the placement of a ‘sculptural playground’ near the kindergarten. The wrapping forms would be of an esthetic quality similar to concrete- but upon exploration, would be made out of a rubberlike compound to insure safety. While made for the youth, the forms would also function as seating for an exterior public theatre, and a lounge for the library or local residents.

+004sculpture sculpture additions additions +004

These sculptures would also act as a buffer between the public library piazza space, and the adjacent residential piazza space. By creating two very unique areas, the public court side of which could be used as an open air market. design execution . library The portico of the building would act as a primary threshold; by glassing in the majority of bays, and extruding specific portions, a glowing colonnade could be created, drawing visitors from the north east with its nightly glow.




02.1 construct . site plan

02.1_construct . site plan

02.3 construct . sections


02.1_construct . plans










02.3 construct . plans






observation reading

rec. sculptures


light garden

exterior market


water closet

grassed gully


outdoor cinema

03.1_execution . components

paved piazza

privacy barrier kindergarten


design execution . lighting It became apparent through site visits, that with a complete lack of community space or activities, the city forced its residence inside at night, or out of the city all together. To counter these conditions, the creation of the outdoor theatre would provide night events for residences, and the implementations of a light garden would provide the environment. A light garden would provided another child oriented component, as light columns, derived from the original portico, would dot the site, changing color throughout the night. By creating these glowing spaces, neighbors, visitors, and residences would find a type of ‘light oasis’ at the heart of their town.

02.3 construct . light garden

open.air cinema

Architecture Portfolio Vol. 1 Issue 3  

Third Year Design Studio II Paola Gioconia Italian Piazza Design

Architecture Portfolio Vol. 1 Issue 3  

Third Year Design Studio II Paola Gioconia Italian Piazza Design