Smart, eco-friendly and above all contemporary
Iosa Ghini Associati
Bologna is Italy’s most important railway hub and at the same time has an international airport which prior to the pandemic was handling around 10 million passengers a year. However, the lack of an efficient link between the airport and the station meant that it could take up to an hour to get from one to the other in busy city traffic. To solve this problem and further consolidate Bologna’s role as the central hub of the country’s transport system, the architecture firm Iosa Ghini Associati was commissioned to design the first Italian People Mover. An elevated transport system running on rubber wheels to drastically reduce acoustic impact, it is a highly innovative solution in terms of both technology (the driverless vehicle is electrically powered and fully automatic) and its architecture, which is carefully designed to blend into the urban and suburban landscape. «The Marconi Express is an innovative, sustainable electric system designed to connect Bologna’s airport to the central railway station in just over seven minutes with an intermediate stop. It is a project that we are very proud of,» explains architect Massimo Iosa Ghini. «The system consists of a monorail supported by pylons, which allows electric shuttles running on tracks to pass through urban areas. Of course, we also designed the stations to be able to handle the flow of passengers. It took us many years of work to bring a concept of sustainability to such a complex project. We decided to install a series of photovoltaic panels along the route to generate 30% of the total energy needs of the system. It is a smart, eco-friendly form of transport that has a contemporary feel in terms of its architecture.»
Consisting of an elegant, lightweight elevated monorail with a total length of about 5,000 metres, the infrastructure combines structural and technological requirements with compositional qualities. The line of supporting pylons and the continuous metal ribbon of the monorail integrate harmoniously through the contrast of two different materials. The 125 exposed reinforced concrete pylons culminate in plastic elements with heights varying from 5.2 to 18 metres which open like goblets, echoing the shape of the arches of the city’s famous porticoes. This is a particularly striking and distinctive feature, all the more so now that Bologna’s Porticoes have been granted UNESCO World Heritage status.
A walkway running along the track serves as an escape route for passengers in the event of an emergency, creating an overall image of a long eco-friendly strip that makes harmonious use of photovoltaic panels and green spaces.
In this project, ceramic surfaces perform a technical function at all levels from the urban scale down to the smallest details. Along with aesthetic quality, Cerdisa Archistone Grip surface paving tiles also fulfil needs relating to serviceability and wear, frost and slip resistance, and consequently deliver outstanding levels of usability and durability.
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): B MIN
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 1300 N ( ≥ 7,5 mm)
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R11 A+B+C
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme