Colombian firm Jaramillo-Azuero Architects (J-A) have proposed a plan to transform a series of obsolete Italian viaducts into a network of state-of-the-art, sustainable energy education and research centers. The brilliant design was showcased in the “Solar Park South” international competition, which sought solutions that repurpose the viaducts instead of spending 40 million euros to demolish them. The J-A proposal features a wave-powered rail line, community-centered parks and sustainable energy research facilities, but the cornerstone of their proposal is the assertion that the most sustainable form of energy in the world is education.
A remote section of highway along Italy’s Sicilian coast—Autostrada del Sole (A3 Salerno – Reggio Calabria Highway)—has been slated for decommission for over ten years. Several impressive viaducts from the 60s and 70s are located along this section of road, which offers breathtaking views of the rural countryside and dramatic seascapes. The local municipalities of Scilla and Bagnara, in conjunction with newitalianblood.com, created the “Solar Park South” international competition to “stimulate concrete ideas and revolutionary proposals for the reuse of the soon to be decommissioned highway sections…”
The brief was actually pretty simple. Come up with a way to creatively reuse the old sections of highway, the viaducts in particular. Be bold. Be original. Be sustainable and environmentally conscious. There were dozens of beautiful and even visionary entries in the competition, but what set the J-A entry apart was the simple idea that education could be a sustainable form of energy — one that could form the very foundation of a world-class environmental research and education center.