Ulten Tunnels

 

The expansion and improvement of a 2km section along the SP9 road in the Ulten Valley, near San Pancrazio, includes the restoration and renovation of three existing galleries and the design of an alternative improved alignment with possible new solutions.

I worked as part of the team on all aspects, specifically on developing the 2D and 3D design solutions for the bridge with particular attention to details. I was in charge of the project delivery.

The three main tunnel portals are the most visible elements within the project. The northern and southern portals also mark the very beginning and ending of the intervention. They are both similar as they consist of a cantilever canopy that extends for approx. 70m outside the tunnel. They invite drivers and bikers into the tunnel and they mark a smooth, fluent and gradual transition from the exterior to the interior, from the natural landscape to the infrastructural element. They shape the road as much as the landscape, creating a shadow which allows the drivers to adjust their eyes to the tunnel darkness.

The canopy is a smooth and delicate cut into the mountain, instead of an abrupt insert, a linear element estranged from the environment. The landscape rolls around and envelops the canopy, leaving visible only a gentle curve, a sleek white concrete line. The intention is not to hide or mystify the work of man, but to make it elegant and one with nature. Hence the material exposed is polished white concrete which reflects the bright summer light and it becomes one with the landscape during the winter season.

The tunnel in the middle of our intervention marks a passage in which it is nature itself that provides the shadow gradient. We move quickly from light into darkness as this passage is long approx. 25m therefore we rely on the trees and the mountains surrounding us to provide us with a filter for the eyes.

Developed as part of a small team while working at Dissing+Weitling Architecture in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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