Bridge With a View! Abandoned Railway Viaduct Could be Transformed into Modern Homes

railway-viaduct-adaptive-reuse-eco-homes (All images by OXO Architects)

A disused viaduct east of Scilla in Italy was recently the focus of a regeneration competition which produced the unique idea of creating a spaceship-like settlement, dubbed an ‘inverted high-rise’ by the architects responsible for the design.

The idea of having a home in the sky, which is accessible only from the road above, seems somewhat incongruous¬†but elevated promenades and ‘roof parking’ have been a popular choice for redevelopment projects worldwide in the last few decades.

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The architects, Tanguy Vermet, Philippe Rizzotti, Samuel Nageotte and Manal Rachdi, considered how the structure could support a self-sufficient community and make use of renewable energy sources as well as increase the location’s visual appeal.

The viaduct’s close proximity to the volcanic Mount Etna allowed the architects to incorporate a geothermal energy system – using water on hot rock to create steam to power generators. The bridge would also have rainwater tanks, water treatment facilities and crops growing in the surrounding area.

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The proposals show balconies and gardens protruding off the central pillars, alongside apartments which breathtaking views. Shops and communal areas have been incorporated into the design, along with practical staircases and handy elevators.

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To reduce costs and stick to the brief, the plan is to maintain the original structure. Extra support would be put into the new building to make it safe, but the viaduct was built in the latter half of the twentieth century to carry heavy rail traffic, so in theory it should provide a sturdy base.

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It is unclear whether the design (which won a bronze Holcim award in 2011) will become reality in the current economic climate but it is thought that this viaduct village would attract tourists and retiring professionals to the area, making it an asset as well as an eco-beacon.

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