Looking at the Ex-Fiera area today, it’s clear that we are facing one of the more sensible neglected areas of the city and one of the most weak spots on Genova’s littoral. Ten years after the “feasible utopia” of the Affresco and two years after the presentation of the “ideal vision, but not utopia” of Renzo Piano Blueprint, our proposal aims to recreating a strong urbanity by the sea, facing the theme of the Port starting from the City, enhancing the Ex-Fiera area on the boundary between earth and sea, City and Port.

It’s an urban patching transforming what first was a back side with no view, occluded and disconnected from the rest of the city, into a new waterfront connected to the city. The place where East, West, North, South, above and below are linked to each other. We imagined an urban system solving the interruption between the city and the sea caused by postwar port growth.

For this reason, our approach was to start from the voids. To pursuit quality, we focused on open spaces, the water, the big flat roofs (typical of Genoa) from which admiring the city and the port. This relativization of the real spot height lets us transform down into up and back into the front, creating a new urban prominence on the sea.

We chose to enhance the Port-Canal: we broaden it 10 meters and we extended it creating an island connected to the city through a carriageable bridge and a floating pedestrian bridge. There will be no more front or back: thanks to a new square, visually open on three sides into the water, the Piazza del Mare, we’ll provide a good view of the sea also to the northern urban bank. This is how we want to create a system of visual relationships between the open spaces. The view becomes the suture between the city and the sea, condensating the energies gathering multiple activities all year long and day long.

Above the Piazza del Mare we conceived a big roof as a landmark for a super-urban place generating chances to meet, where to share values and celebrating urbanity. We designed public spaces able to fertilize the context, giving it a new meaning and new reasons to come together and share and embracing it as something belonging to everyone. With this project the waterfront becomes a key spot in urban and port life, almost more urban than the city itself, preserving the characters both of the Port and the City, where there is always something going on, for everybody, promoting inclusion and multiculturalism.

CDS Holding S.p.A.
CDS Waterfront Genova S.r.l.
Waterfront di Levante S.r.l.

Project team:
Renzo Piano (masterplan donor),
AG&P greenscape

OBR design team (Waterfront di Levante):
Paolo Brescia and Tommaso Principi,
Edoardo Allievi, Pietro Blini, Francesco Cascella,
Biancamaria Dall’Aglio, Luigi Di Marino,
Paolo Dolceamore, Paolo Fang,
Maddalena Felis, Giulia D’Angeli,
Chiara Gibertini, Luca Marcotullio,
Lorenzo Mellone, Silvia Pellizzari, Rossella Villani

Genoa, Italy

site area 122,000 sqm
built surface 113,000 sqm

2022 detailed design and start of works
2021 concept design
2020 preliminary design
2020 urban operational plan
2016 Blueprint Competition

2022 Best Italian Project Award, IQI, Milano