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    Picture: Aldo Amoretti

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Unique paving anchors transport hub

Jez Abbott
24 Apr 2019

The project includes breathable pavers made from mollusc shells

Designers working on a central axis for a new multimodal transport hub have billed it as the first of its kind in Europe.

The project in Nice, France, will channel all the flows of traffic – a new tram system, buses, bicycles and pedestrians - to create a new centrality of the site.

According to Spanish architect Mateo Arquitectura a large expanse of urban cool paving has been created for the first time in Europe.

It corresponds to areas of most intense pedestrian presence such as bus stops and represents an attempt to improve the thermal conditions of urban space in a hot climate.

An underground irrigation system is controlled by exterior sensors that cool special breathable pavers, manufactured experimentally using mollusc shells.

Mateo Arquitectura unified the horizontal texture of all the paving using natural or artificial stone edged with sturdy blocks of light-coloured sandstone.

The resulting paving is a continuous figure of stone, bound by the lines that form the kerbs, with differences in size and quality depending on conditions of use.

Space between tram rails is paved with rough cobblestone to deter pedestrians while sidewalks are of smooth granite pavers. Bus and cycle lanes comprise high-strength concrete blocks.

Vegetation was planted on a horizontal mineral base. Large trees line pavements while a green central reservation, climbing plants on walls and a little park add natural, organic forms.

Landscaping was undertaken by Atelier Villes et Paysages

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