We have taken another step forward for the new life of the Enel Torrevaldaliga Nord plant in Civitavecchia, where the competition for the “I nuovi spazi dell’energia” (“The new spaces for energy”) project has just come to an end. It consisted of four challenges Enel issued for architects and designers in July 2020, to design four modern and efficient energy hubs, required to decommission coal plants in Italy by 2025. The call for ideas was widely successful among talented youngsters, and attracted over 40 entrants, including architecture firms and professionals. The submitted proposals were assessed according to the criteria and principles set forth in the call, by a committee of representatives from Regione Lazio, Unindustria, the University of Tuscia, Sapienza University and Enel.
The first prize was awarded to the architect Luca Binarelli for the proposal that best fit the competition’s goal: to bring to life an energy hub where renewable sources (photovoltaic solar), batteries for energy storage and a gas plant are increasingly integrated with the surrounding environment. This is thanks to projects that have a limited impact on the landscape and define a new concept of power plant, which also includes accessible spaces for the community. Entrants were asked to present ideas in line with the principles of sustainability and the circular economy, by reusing existing structures that can adapt to different phases in the reconversion of plants. The proposals that came second and third also received awards, with the option to be integrated during the executive design phase.
The winning proposal is a detailed and flexible concept featuring environmental and technological aspects that will guide the transformation, and will be defined in subsequent design phases.
The winner will be entrusted with the architectural design of the proposal; the executive design and production will be carried out while the various energy projects planned for the site go through the authorization process.
The project is based on future development scenarios, and encompasses the plant’s entire area – with plans to create a new hub with structures resulting from the joint contributions of the local community, institutions and Enel.
In the proposed solution, the Etruscan tumulus –an iconic and indelible trace of the past history of the site – was chosen to symbolize the rebirth of an area which binds past and present, representing a sustainable energy transition and the constant dialogue between technological development and nature, architecture and landscape elements, whether natural or farmed.
An additional aspect that enhances the quality of the project is the presence of permanent art installations dedicated to the issues of sustainability, on the new plant’s buildings.
“The design competition launched by Enel to select proposals that would enhance the architectural and landscape value of the industrial site of Torrevaldaliga Nord – says Alvaro Marucci, Deputy Rector of the University of Tuscia and a member of the committee – proved that, also in this field, the collaboration between the University and the surrounding area can produce great results. The selection took into account the design and visual impact of the projects, their relationship with the area, social and environmental sustainability, circularity and the reuse of structures. This experience was certainly positive, and can be a model and an example to follow in other contexts, benefiting the community and the companies taking part.”
“Unindustria Civitavecchia considers the Torrevaldaliga Nord Plant a site of crucial importance for the area. For this reason, its redevelopment and evolution into an integrated and open energy hub are not only an important opportunity for sustainable development and for business, but also an added value for the entire local community. We appreciate the decision to engage the community from the start of this journey, which will be decisive for the future of Civitavecchia and the surrounding area also from a social, entrepreneurial and employment point of view,” added Cristiano Dionisi, President of Unindustria Civitavecchia.
“Our vision for the future of energy is about to materialize in Civitavecchia with this project, which we carried out in an open and shared way,” explains Luca Solfaroli Camillocci, Head of Enel Global Power Generation Italy. “Thanks to contributions from leading architecture firms and by actively engaging the local community, institutions and the University, we are able to put forth a new concept of power plant, equipped with the most innovative technologies to do our part for the energy transition process that is having a remarkable impact on Civitavecchia and the surrounding area. A site that will be open to local communities, a space that will live in harmony with the surrounding landscape and environment.”
The evaluation criteria looked at the projects’ modularity and flexibility, according to the different phases in the plants’ reconversion; how well they could be used by the community; their quality of design and visual impact; the social and environmental sustainability of the proposals, with a special focus on circularity and the reuse of existing structures and infrastructures; technological innovation; and the addition of new green areas.