Like pine cones in the forest

Supporting soft mobility

Architecture that lets trees live, formal influences from the far north and a sustainable building material that scores both from an aesthetic and a recycling perspective: With its new bicycle station designed by LSB Architetti Associati, the Municipality of Corato in the province of Bari (IT) is going all out – which is why the project landed the second place in the Premio Nazionale Go Slow 2021 that is dedicated to supporting soft mobility.

Genius Loci

“In the best case, architecture emerges from the history of a city or environment,” the Turin-based architect Giuseppe Dell’Aquila tells us with conviction. It is a conclusion that has stuck with him in the course of his work on various infrastructure, sustainability and landscape design projects over the past 25 years. These projects also include the Nuova Linea ferroviaria Torino–Lione – a route for a high-speed train line that involves building an approx. 57 km long tunnel under a mountain. Over 15 years, his involvement in linear infrastructure gave rise to something that would also become essential for his design of the bicycle station in Corato: a strong environmental awareness. In Dell’Aquila’s words: “I’ve always advocated for a more sustainable use of resources and am a proponent of architecture that consciously blends into its natural environment.” His credo is clear: building with nature instead of building where nature is or once was.

„Convivenza“ – „Coexistence“

Mr. Dell’Aquila also uses the term “convivenza”, “coexistence”, to clarify what he is referring to here: “An architect is responsible for ensuring that a new building coexists with the existing structure. To do so, he must find the necessary balance, which can only be achieved if he captures the genius loci, the spirit of a place.” He also claims that the further you go back in history, the more contrast you can create. This is exemplified by the Parc de la Villette, for instance, the second largest park in Paris, which flaunts 26 bright red buildings designed by Bernhard Tschumi.

The right material for every mantra

With the aim of creating a “very light, sustainable object”, LSB Architetti Associati decided to use a substructure made of cross-laminated timber (X-Lam) and rounded off their design concept with a scaly façade cladding made of PREFA rhomboid tiles. “Since the material can be recycled as often as desired, this aspect was clearly central for our choice. The term ‘recycling’ has practically become a mantra at our office. There were also aesthetic motivations for us: We wanted the surface structure of the façade to resemble that of a pine cone, and the rhomboid tile made this possible. By the way, 90% of the station consist of PREFA,” reveals the architect.

Architect Giuseppe Dell’Aquila

A town is redesigning itself

In the future, the bicycle station in Corato will be used by commuters who work or study in Bari, located 40 km southeast of the town, and those who are drawn to nature for recreational purposes: For it is connected to the bicycle paths of the Alta Murgia National Park, which you can reach from here in a good two and a half hours.

With the aim of ringing in a new era of sustainable mobility in Apulia, a functional building, of all things, shows how urban redesign works. And Giuseppe Dell’Aquila is fully behind it, of course: “I am very proud that we were able to create a piece of urban identity with the architectural language of this project.”

Velostazione di Corato - details



Object, Location: 

bicycle station, Corato (BA)


new construction


LSB Architetti Associati


L.A. Lattoneria SRL


rhomboid roof tile 29 × 29


light grey, moss green

Further information

  • Interview: Anneliese Heinisch & Mara Probst
  • Text: Anneliese Heinisch
  • Photos & sketches: © Giuseppe Dell’Aquila