The historic centre of Bolzano is shaped by its small-scale, mediaeval structure. In direct vicinity, between the central square, Waltherplatz, the cathedral and the train station, the WaltherPark Bolzano is a mixed-use complex that is currently under construction. This new building will bring a wide range of shopping facilities from the periphery back into the city centre. In addition to retail, the building will also accommodate apartments, offices and a hotel.
The area being developed was destroyed during the war and rebuilt in the 1950s and 1970s but is now in a condition that necessitates renewal. A new design for the currently heterogenous site envisages closing the city block by carefully inserting an overall new structure. The design adopts motifs typical for Bolzano, such as the slightly angled façades, eaves of differing heights or the loggias cut into the building. It also echoes motifs from the 1950s architecture characteristic of the district, such as the external façade grid with its sculptural quality.
WaltherPark Bolzano addresses the historic axes and street boundaries and redefines squares and routes. Its footprint also follows the urban design intention to expand the public space and links the various city spaces at ground floor level. The building’s materiality is oriented towards the mineral surfaces of the city and their pastel tonality, while taking into account the desire for the greatest possible transparency. An external post-and-beam façade made of precast concrete elements with local stone aggregate forms the frame within which the respective use inside can express itself individually. The floor-to-ceiling glazing allows plenty of daylight into the interior. Large skylights establish views at different intervals, facilitating orientation for visitors throughout the four retail levels.
A cluster of nine volumes rise from the roof of the department store, six of which have a residential function. The remaining volumes house office space and a hotel with restaurant, sky bar and spa area. With heights ranging between three and five stories, these volumes react to the scale of the surrounding buildings. They are positioned along the façade, following the model of a classic perimeter block development, and are oriented either towards the roof garden in their centre or towards the city and the panorama of the surrounding mountains.