Redevelopment of the ECOC district in Nova Gorica and Gorizia
The creation of the cross-border area that will host the European Capital of Culture 2025 has began.
About 10 million investments, 4 areas of intervention (Piazzale della Transalpina/Trg Evrope with the Tridente/Trizob, the green area towards the San Gabriele/Erjavčeva border crossing, EPIC and Super 8) and 15 months available for the redevelopment of what will be the heart of the 2025 events: the Piazzale della Transalpina/Trg Evrope area. After the signing of the agreement also on the Slovenian side, signed on 17 October with the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Slovenian Railways, EGTC GO and the municipalities of Nova Gorica and Gorizia announce the start of the works.
Since the 2020, the creation of an "EPIcentre" was planned, a place that would be the gateway for the two cities, or rather for the cross-border city GO! Borderless. Since then, a lot of water has passed under the city's bridges, many hurdles - bureaucratic, technical and inevitably also related to the border issue - have been tackled in order to arrive at a broader project. The objective behind the creation of the new 'district' is the creation of a unified, connected and integrated urban system, functional not only for the events of GO! 2025 but also for the life of the city in the years to follow.
Transalpine Square / Trg Evrope
The first of the construction sites in the order of commencement - illustrated by the Deputy Director of the EGTC GO Tomaž Konrad and representatives of the architectural firms Ravnikar Potokar, DRH and SA - concerns the Transalpina/Trg Evrope Square and the so-called "Trident" in front of it (formed by Caprin, Foscolo and Luzzato streets). The works are scheduled to start in February 2024 and the total investment amounts to EUR 2.78 million; the functional and landscape redevelopment of the cross-border green belt will follow.
All pedestrian and vehicular areas will be landscaped in a unified manner. In detail: part of the three streets on Italian territory leading to the square and the Kolodvorska pot (which crosses the Slovenian part in a north-south direction, flanking the Station building) will be raised to the level of the square, and the paving will have a design that is consistent with the other spaces so as to restore the unity of the whole.
The renovation will also include the reorganisation of public lighting, the installation of pressurised water jets ('water games' with variable lighting) and new street furniture elements.
A seat with a wooden seat will be placed on the existing wall marking the state boundary in sections, respecting the testimonial value of this artefact. The monument that once represented the separation will take on a new role, offering a place to meet and learn more about the history of the cross-border area.
Bicycle racks will be placed next to the railway station building. On the sides of the square, 30 new trees will be planted in the green area along the access roads. An outdoor terrace for use by the restaurant is also planned in the space in front of the railway station.
"These construction sites, in addition to other works already in progress or planned, will cause some temporary inconvenience for residents and tourists in Nova Gorica and Gorizia, and we are aware of this. But being able to intervene at infrastructural level in the areas divided between Italy and Slovenia is a fundamental achievement, not only for the GO!2025 project, but for the future of this territory and all those who live and work here," said Romina Kocina, Director of the EGTC GO, at the presentation.
Upgrading and renovation of the Nova Gorica railway station, EPIC, Super 8
The works coordinated by the Municipality of Nova Gorica were presented by the Head of the Mayor's Office Mija Lorbek. On the Slovenian side, the following investments are being realised or prepared in the ECOC district
upgrading of the infrastructure needed to make the area more welcoming (water, sewage, telecommunication lines);
bicycle paths connected by a new subway under the railway tracks, all the way to Prvomajska Street;
redevelopment of the entire railway station area in Nova Gorica with the removal of unused tracks by the Ministry of Infrastructure;
adaptation of the existing warehouse for the EPIC platform and the SVTK building for the Super 8 centre;
urban green belt between the former San Gabriele and Salcano valleys;
redevelopment of the Rafut Park including the villa and outbuildings.
Cross-border green area of the ECOC district
The cross-border green area is located in the space between the border and the Slovenian Railways' facilities along the tracks and includes the existing green belt with a bicycle path and Kolodvorska Street. In contrast to the initial plan to build a new "border structure", the redevelopment of the cross-border green belt has been opted for, focusing mainly on the renovation and reuse of the existing Slovenian railway structures and the redevelopment of the urban landscape of the entire border belt from "customs to customs": from the former border crossing at St Gabriel Street along the border to the end of Kolodvorska Street to the north, to the former border crossing at Salcano.
The 'borderless' green zone between the two cities provides space for the location of some of the projects envisaged in the ECOC 2025 bid book, while at the same time functionally addressing the simultaneous mobility of pedestrians/visitors, cyclists and motorised traffic. Professor Saša Dobričić, an architect at the University of Nova Gorica, emphasises, "The principle of designing the green belt as a linear urban-landscape trajectory of the agglomeration is based on linking and integrating the content of the projects in the bid book with the design principles of nature-based solutions, which have already been developed in a participatory manner in the European Urbinat project for the wider green system of the agglomeration."
"This is only the beginning of the development of this area, in which we want to further involve both the University of Nova Gorica and the business support environment after 2025 to build innovative cross-fertilisation between all three areas. The inhabitants of the agglomeration will also have a new space, a promenade of the culture of coexistence, which we will be able to proudly show to our visitors and tourists," emphasised Mija Lorbek, Head of the Cabinet of the Mayor of the Municipality of Nova Gorica.
ECOC themes in the green area
- The connecting environment of two key projects, EPIC and Super Eight
- Jungle basketball
- The playground
- The atlas of forgotten orchards (located and expanded in the area near Koren, which together with the Rafut complex is the site of the wider ECOC district and cross-border heritage corridor (where we already planted the first seedlings last year))
- Survival persimmon (to be placed in the green belt along Kolodovorska Street)
- Tree platforms (within the playground)
- EPIC open spaces (participatory and socialisation workshops)
- Space for low-cost, temporary and modular urban interventions
- Common urban furniture in the agglomeration (ECOC landmarks)
- Phyto-purification and retention ponds (underwater playgrounds)
- Greening of Kolodovorska and existing car parks
- Insect and bat hotels
- Open meadows
- Green/participation wall
- Miyawaki pocket grove
- Planting of new trees and an avenue along Kolo