BUS STOP PROTOTYPE
Siracusa, Italy, 2012
Principals: Andrea Di Stefano, Aleksandra Jaeschke | Design team: Salvo Pappalardo, Aleksandra Mrowca, Julia Modlinska, Dagna Mirecka | Renderings: Massimo D’Aiello | Engineering: Michele Versaci
La Foglia is a prototypical bus stop located on the Ortigia island, the historical centre of Siracusa. It adapts to local constraints yet it is part of a potential lineage of structures. Without being the original, it is the first of a number of possible solutions emerging from a process of differentiation of an origami pattern, which evolves in response to site specificities by absorbing local environmental data.
La Foglia follows the flow of local traffic, adapts to the side walk and leans across the handrail to frame the view of the harbour. It channels the pedestrian movement and accompanies the bus manoeuvres opening up onto the street.
The form develops both in physical and digital realms. The bottom-up development process gradually absorbs functional, structural and environmental inputs through a series of origami models which eventually inform a parametrically-controlled description in Grasshopper for Rhino.
Through a series of transformations applied to the initial flat pattern based on undifferentiated herring-type folds, the form acquires single curvature. Insertion of diamond-type folds adds structural rigidity and further transformations applied to the pattern generate the double-curved surface. Integration of environmental factors and further functional optimisation takes place in the Grasshopper model which incorporates structural and environmental analysis. Multiple parameters negotiate while the surface folds up into a corrugated shell which simultaneously fulfils a number of specific functional requirements. It provides shelter from strong sun casting refreshing shadows in the hot season. It protects from rain and strong winds in the winter time. It unfolds into a bench.
Particular regions of the surface fulfil micro-functional requirements while differentiated pattern generates specialized folds. The foot folds up and, when filled with removable concrete wedge-shaped blocks, it creates a sitting surface which simultaneously acts as footing anchoring the structure to the ground. The ankle transfers load to the base and protects from the dominant winds. The palm resists gravity and wind loads, channels rainwater, protects from sunlight and rain. The cantilevering corner allows for pedestrian passage while protecting from rain and noon sun. The fixed corner anchors the shell which curves into a stabilising arch to simultaneously protect from the afternoon sun.
The origami pattern embodies integrated performance: functional, structural and environmental factors merge in a unique differentiated and self-supporting Corten steel surface which when observed from the harbour or approached by car glows with vivid orange in the sunset light and gently shivers in the wind.