The call for ideas CULTURE STATIONS was launched on March 2021 by YAC – Young Architects Competitions – in collaboration with the Municipality of Elini to reinterpret ancient railway infrastructures in terms of culture and tourism, considering them as opportunities for the areas they cross. Culture Stations competition invited creatives from the whole world to leave aside their original functions and embracing a new cultural purpose, designers have endless possibilities: stations as museums, “case cantoniere” (roadmen’s houses) as accommodation, storehouses as ateliers, railway parks as open-air theatres, bridges and galleries as exhibition spaces.
Slow and noisy, located in wild and remote scenarios, many stations are not in use anymore, leaving behind breath-taking landscapes crossed by rusty cast iron strips and scattered with vernacular structures.
Rail infrastructures have long been neglected or abandoned, far from being object of architecture projects, as they are linked to a form of transportation that was considered obsolete and incompatible with the speed of modern times.
Designers from more than 100 countries took part in this compelling challenge proposing their valuable concept ideas evaluated by an outstanding jury panel including David Telermen, Ricardo Bofil, Marjin Schenk, Giuseppe Zampieri from David Chipperfield Architects, Edoardo Tresoldi, among the others, evaluated the project proposals selecting those better responding to the competition’s brief. The winning projects have been awarded with a total cash prize of € 15,000 distributed to the first seven teams ranking.
In particular, the South Korean team softnloft ranked first and was rewarded with € 8,000. The project was designed by Min-Woo Kang and it aims to “permeate Elini’s daily Iife. I focused on the spatial composition of the museum. Looking at the components of the museum, it was judged that convenience facilities such as cafes, restaurants, shops, lobbies, assembly spaces, viewing spaces, libraries, and lounges could change flexibly and function independently. Therefore, I tried to get closer to the living area of the locals by arranging the convenient facilities of the museum on the railway that runs through the entire Elini.”
The second prize of € 4,000 was awarded to the Italian team LAST featuring Johnny Rosas, Enrico Cannas, Silvia Serrau, Erica Olianas whose project was “conceived are inserted in the context respecting the pre-existing structures and obtaining a re-functionalization of the spaces capable of preserving their historical-documentary value. In particular, a new life is given to the village railway system which, far many years, it constituted an important connection artery and allowed the creation of public and private spaces and buildings of considerable importance along its path, which today take on a value of historical memory full of development potential. The railway therefore represents an important sign in the country, which has always been capable of social spaces and, far this reason, it is assumed as a founding element of the entire project system .”
The team CLOUD3 from Brazil ranked third with a proposal focusing on three essential issues: “01. Provide a mobility and information center in the former olive oil mill of the city being accessible to all (area A); 02. Create centers of interest in a sustainable way: maintaining existing buildings and proposing new uses such as services, culture and art (area B, C); 03. Propose the qualification of the public space adjacent to the existing buildings in the Rail Park, through a new street design and urban furniture (area C). Also along Carmine Park, refurbishing existing spaces in order to contemplate old and new visitors with practices that respect the heritage of the place (area D).”
Two Gold Mentions rewarded with € 500 each follow in the ranking: the German team SOLID PLUS whose main goal was “to re-establish the identification of the ancient village, Elini of Sardinia, historical and cultural spurs were explored once again: Rooting from the figure of Nuraghe, the unforgettable symbol of Sardinia herself, and renewing the potential of the existing, semi-used railway across the town since ages, several new structures and buildings were brought into this urban space to redefine it.” And the Iranian team سید امیر مهدی فاطمی whose proposal focuses on the fact that “Elini can offer hope and a life-saving pause from addictive and distractive smartphones. Smartphones and their relevant applications apart from all the advantages (i.e. make people closer to the ones far from them; nevertheless, taking them away from the ones sitting beside them) have disconnected many people from some vital connections such as relations with nature or random social dialogues.”
The ranking is then made by 10 Honorable Mentions and 30 Finalist Mentions.
All the projects are available on YAC’s website: www.youngarchitectscompetitions.com
Should a museum be always in the same form there? No. In my opinion, a museum should react according to the situation and should be operated intermittently. Of course, some of the visited museums in the city, would be an exception. However, Elini is a beautiful village with quietness and peace. Rather, I am interested in how locals will coexist with the museum. My design direction on this issue was not to be abandoned vacant space, when the museum was not in operation, but to permeate Elini’s daily Iife. I focused on the spatial composition of the museum. Looking at the components of the museum, it was judged that convenience facilities such as cafes, restaurants, shops, lobbies, assembly spaces, viewing spaces, libraries, and lounges could change flexibly and function independently. Therefore, I tried to get closer to the living area of the locals by arranging the convenient facilities of the museum on the railway that runs through the entire Elini. lf convenience facilities spread throughout the village and become useful, it could revitalize Elini. Moreover, these spaces will gather in one place and function as a museum again. lt is a Locomotive Museum that gives motivation to Locai, where disintegration and combination are repeated.
lf used as a museum, it will be an important cultural facility and landmark building for Elini. Less openness to the outside was planned to keep distance from daily Iife. In other words, we are immersed in the original function of the museum at this moment. lt will deliver information about Elini to tourists and archive residents’ cultures.
DAILY LIFE WITH LOCOMOTIVE SPACE
On the other hand, when the museum’s exhibition is over or the utilization rate is low, convenience spaces are dismantled and spread throughout Elini. These spaces called ‘LOCOMOTIVE SPACE’ provide convenience by digging deep into the living sphere of the residents. These spaces were designed to symbolize the various aspects of Elini’s existing buildings. lt will also serve as a transitional intermediary Space for relationships between nature and its inhabitants These spaces travel along the railroad tracks. lt cannot pass under the bridge located near the residence so that it can only move within a certain in range. And, lt was planned to be a place to stop traveling and a point space where people gather. The remaining exhibition space, museum mass, will be used as a useful large space that can be used for assembly or events of residents. The previously located basketball court and playground were remodelled in harmony with the building, so that the previous users did not deprive them of urban facilities
JOHNNY ROSAS, ENRICO CANNAS, SILVIA SERRAU, ERICA OLIANAS
AII the interventions conceived are inserted in the context respecting the pre-existing structures and obtaining a re-functionalization of the spaces capable of preserving their historical-documentary value.
In particular, a new life is given to the village railway system which, far many years,it constituted an important connection artery and allowed the creation of public and private spaces and buildings of considerable importance along its path, which today take on a value of historical memory full of development potential.
The railway therefore represents an important sign in the country, which has always been capable of social spaces and, far this reason, it is assumed as a founding element of the entire project system.
The “case cantoniere”, dislocate along the railway route and left in a state of neglect, resume importance with the new functions like ateliers and laboratory activities related to gastronomy transformation and the sale of local products; the old train station is being retrained and develop spaces far art and culture activities.
The requalification of these public spaces makes it possible to obtain an authentic open-air museum that is not only given by the sum of works and artistic installations, but constitutes an integrated system of elements and spaces able to tel1 the places and the history of the village and its inhabitants also through the use of technological and multimedia systems accessible to all. The contemporary museum in Elini therefore becomes multimedia and experiential and enhances the peculiarities that the context already offers.
Amanda Gabriella Michelotto, João Pedro Chaves da Silva, Helena Pagel Classen
Elini is a city that provides opportunities for observing different contrasts through the preservation of old buildings and the implementation of new sustainable practices, as well as the search for the requalification of public spaces in the local landscape. Therefore, this project pursues in all instances to work with contrasts as a form to enhance the pre-existing and typical elements of the region and also opens space for the new. Three essential points were established for the project activity development
- Provide a mobility and information center in the former olive oil mill of the city being accessible to all;
- Create centers of interest in a sustainable way: maintaining existing buildings and proposing new uses such as services, culture and art;
- Propose the qualification of the public space adjacent to the existing buildings in the Rail Park, through a new street design and urban furniture. Also along Carmine Park, refurbishing existing spaces in order to contemplate old and new visitors with practices that respect the heritage of the place
Huangxiang Song, Dajun Li
To re-establish the identification of the ancient village, Elini of Sardinia, historical and cultural spurs were explored once again: Rooting from the figure of Nuraghe, the unforgettable symbol of Sardinia herself, and renewing the potential of the existing, semi-used railway across the town since ages, several new structures and buildings were brought into this urban space to redefine it.
The main street downhills no longer merely intersects the railway and splits the town. Thanks to the demolition and the new city terrace in the middle, it brings visitors now directly into this new scene of Elini, where several new spots with height were given: near Train station or the cathedral, behind the school or in front of the market upon the hill. Mostly covered in bricks and stones, these new architectures with towers enhanced the domination of the center and inheriting the figure of the stone-age-structures in the new era. Also they provide new services and functions besides those of the demolished buildings: museum, hotels, offices and so on. So the road and the railway system now both connect all these spots and together they build up a new network in this urban context.
Resembling the movement of lives and trains passing through this village, a wooden structure was placed along the track next to a refurbished building. Near it the designed landscapes and sculptures were carefully mixed, providing new public space and redirecting visitors. New activities were explored, whether during the operational time of the railway or not.
Seyed Amir Mahdi Fatemi, Mohammad Saeed Ramezani, Mehrnaz Miri, Parsa Pahlavan, Robede Hazrat
The connections we have lost in our modem era might be associated with what emptied our lives and our minimal dreams and cities like Elini. A pure relationship of human with nature and qualitative social interactions are highly and adversely affected by our dependence and (sometimes) addiction to the smart phones applications even deteriorated after the worldwide spread of COVID-19 as a consequence of social distancing.
In this proposal, Elini can offer hope and a life-saving pause from addictive and distractive smartphones. Smartphones and their relevant applications apart from all the advantages (i.e. make people closer to the ones far from them; nevertheless, taking them away from the ones sitting beside them) have disconnected many people from some vital connections such as relations with nature or random social dialogues.
Angelo Castillo, Lilié Suárez Gómez, Osyarin Ipsán García, Laimari De Quesada
The train is a source of memories. Its roads and facilities are linked to memorable landscapes. New structures for contemporary life in Elini let you rediscover its charms. The Timeless Pavilions bring fleeting or extended stays to life at this destination. The museum pavilion is where the landscape becomes the permanent exhibition. The workshops summon bohemian work spaces and allow productive activities in a private way, without giving up the views. The accommodation, solitary or stacked, adapts to different contexts and experience. The pavilions are in themselves landscape structures that frame and are integrated into its immediate setting.
Wenzhuo Cai, Ruoxi Li, Zemin Yan
Elini is a perfect mixture of tradition and future, and this is the feature we decided to build our culture station on. We grasped several images from different times and collaged them into a bigger picture. Our new station is a linear space which interact with the old buildings and the site. Arriving at the station, tourists are able to take a quick glance at this time-honoured town or enjoy a leisure time at the cafeteria and outdoor theatre. If they intend to explore Elini thoroughly, three different paths are designed for them to choose. We are hoping that this culture station is not only a transfer station for tourists, but also a wonderful depiction of Sardinian culture, and Elini will be known as a land of idyllic beauty.
Aleksandra Warowna, MariaPaczóska, Julia Bujak, Ezgi Sopaoglu
One of the project’s first aims is to create an adaptable and active area for local people and tourists. Furthermore, it is intended to be a part of its location and intertwined with nature. That’s why materials that are contemporary and not harmful to the environment have been chosen. The ropes provide permeability in the wooden construction. It facilitates the internal-external relationship. The area consists of three parts: mind, body, soul. The three summary, spaces where people can spend their time are designed on the basis of nature and sustainability.
Shiyin Zeng, Qiazi Chen, Shiqi Liu
Elini as well as its neighbour towns quietly settle in the Ogliastra region, along the beautiful mountain and the dense forest. lt blends in the surrounding villages so well. However, sometimes it seems to be blended too well, making it not quite easy to be located at first glance without modem technologies. We looked at Elini’s surrounding and looked back how Italians in the past enhance the present or identity of a city, a town or a village by architecture. Towers- might be the answer that we are looking for. lf one wandering in the city of Venice, and see St. Mark’s Campanile. The St. Mark square would be located. lf one is outside and passing by the city of San Gimignano, the city would be identified through the tall tower and their solid facades.
A city, a location and a place will be recognized and memorized because of tower and its monumentality. We are proposing four towers to reinforce the presence of Elini, high up in the sky, to be seen in the tower but also far away. The old stone towers seem to be too heavy and chunky to fit daily use in modem world. Metal and glass, as materials which can be easily obtained from Arbatax, give sense of freshness and lightness to the town and its contrast material stands out more among the stone buildings. The proposed towers will be located in empty lots and keep appropriate distance from existing buildings to have enough respect but yet close enough to interact with. The towers will accelerate the development of Elini because of their diverse programs.
Berke Karadeniz, Ege Ediger
Design approach by emphasizing “Footprint of traditional architecture, coexistence of city and countryside, exploration of local and social culture”. Our design tries to reflect the original culture of local villages, back to a simple and modest style. The design highlights local and social. The silhouette is in fact an abstract expression of the traditional eave from local Elini buildings. Tile corridor of endless possibilities: a revitalization of the main axis for Elini The system of railway infrastructures of Elini is surrounded by art and culture, therefore this is a unique opportunity to create evocative itineraries for travellers how want to discover remote places. Ho!!Se..Of collaborative Ground is a perfect place for online working business, small teams, digital nomads, who are looking to get away from the stressful routine and enjoy living and working in a small Sardinian village lor weeks, months or years. ‘Therefore, we provide accommodation, storehouses as a Eilers, railway parks as open-air exhibitions, marketplaces. In addition to revitalizing this old and underused place, all those involved in this program will also make a serious contribution to the local people by teaching the visitors their own business (vine&oil) and selling their products).
Zhi Bin Cheah, Jia Wei Huang
A series of programs are inserted and re-organized from the landscape and squares around the existing rail infrastructures. In contrast to fast-paced metropolitan transportation, the transformation provides spaces for transit, with comfortable stroll along art, public space and nature at the heart of Elini.
Opportunity calls for locals and visitors alike to live in and care for nature as a community in the priced Carmine Park of Elini. With increasing possibility of remote working, the program is designed to provide medium to long term stay. Shared facilities are also available for day visit members.
Entering Elini, a conical observation tower is carefully erupted from the olive mill to mark the entrance of the town. It is a 21st century interpretation of the “Nuraghe” tomb, that has once signified the development and civilization of ancient Sardinia population.
KER NENG PEH, CHAER SHEANLEE, YONG GING LOW, ARIEL FLORES, TZE WAY NG
Our proposal intends to adapt, connect and enlighten Elini off its status as a remote destination to an island of the 21st century. The Next Elini, is a proposition inspired by the potentials of Elini’s abandoned railway stations for a cultural, social and environmental agenda. The need to examine the city from a Next perception is informed by a degradation of population growth, inspiring us to reject conventional ways of urbanization in island towns. The potentials of Elini is promising with the events unfolding, climate change and a global pandemic anchoring the livelihood of many, the possibilities of expansion and urbanisation remotely will become a viable option. Our design proposal looks at The Next Elini as the Next Enlightenment, the potentials of a safely tucked away island in addressing our living conditions in a newfound reality.
Weijie Xu, Yuzhu Zi, Brian Yung, Hao Wen, Cheuk Yi Chelsea Kwok, Wing Lam Chak, Ashley Hammonds
The proposal reinterprets the existing architecture of the town thought the act of preservation. Pre-existing buildings are transformed into fragments as parts of the exterior, forming gabion walls of the art gallery, prefabricated scaffolding steel frameworks are introduced as extension of the architecture, whilst allowing the flexibility to rebuild according to the program, corten streel cladding provides a cost effective and low maintenance solution for the high demand of material.
Irina Ivancu, Catinca Joița, Daniel Oancea
The project aims to bring to life the existing train station in Elini, through a modern reinterpretation. Our proposal follows the idea of the train platform, which is reinterpreted in the form of a light steel structure, covered by a translucent fabric. This structure acts, on the southern side, as a traditional train platform, while on the northern side, the same structure hosts cultural functions (such as an open-air amphitheatre, exhibition pavilions and panels).
Fajar Widharta, Marvel Yuri Sofyan, Pancatriputra Likoweda, Alessandro Cipolli, Lalu, Fatih Azzam
Elini is a small rem8’te town in Sardegna, with small inhabitants and activities Throughout history; its main lineage is t the agriculture and hospitality; with primary crops are olive oil, vegetables and fruity trees in surrounding.
An AGRI-CULTURE STATION is then proposed, in which the design orientation is about bringing the agricultural historical sector and terms, directly to the heart of the town, where the station is located.
With this typology, the architect1ure is not focusing on changing or presenting something different, but more responsive to what the roots of the city is. Minimum and subtle intervention approach, resulting in big impacts and structure for a new Elini in the future.