The first phase of Napoli Afragola Station – the new gateway to the south of Italy – has been inaugurated by prime minister Paolo Gentiloni. The new rail station at Napoli Afragola is designed as one of southern Italy’s key interchange stations serving four high speed inter-city lines, three interregional lines and a local commuter line. In addition to the planned high speed rail services connecting Bari and Reggio Calabria with the north of Italy and Europe, by 2022 new rail infrastructure will create an important hub at Napoli Afragola serving the entire Campania region by integrating the southern expansion of Italy’s high-speed rail network with the Napoli Cancello line and the Circumvesuviana commuter railway extension. Located at this major intersection within southern Italy’s rail network, Napoli Afragola connects the 15 million residents of Campania, Puglia, Molise, Calabria and Sicily in southern Italy with the national rail network in the north and the rest of Europe. It also enables goods and passengers from Europe and northern Italy to access the southern ports of Gioia Tauro, Taranto, Bari, Brindisi, Palermo and Augusta. To meet future demand for rail travel throughout the region (which has increased by 50% in the past decade) the Napoli Afragola station is within the new north/south rail corridor in the east of the greater Napoli metropolitan area that will be wholly integrated with local and regional rail services. Designed as an urbanised public bridge connecting the communities on either side of the railway, the station is defined by the circulation routes of passengers, minimising distances for those embarking and alighting at Napoli Afragola as well those passengers connecting to different train services.
The design enlarges the public walkway over the eight railway tracks to such a degree that this walkway becomes the station’s main passenger concourse: a bridge housing all the services and facilities for departing, arriving and connecting passengers, with direct access to all platforms below. The paths of passengers have also determined the geometry of the spaces within. Large entrances at both ends of the station welcome and guide visitors up to the elevated public zones lined with shops and other amenities. Visitors from either side of the station meet in a central atrium above overlooked by cafes and restaurants. This central atrium above the railway tracks is a much-needed new public space for Afragola and the main concourse where rail passengers descend to the platforms. Designed as an extrusion of a trapezoid along a 450m curved path, the elevated concourse is made of 200 differently shaped steel ribs that are clad in Corian with a glazed roof. The main concourse of the station is oriented to benefit the building’s ecological sustainability. Integrated solar panels in the roof, combined with natural light and ventilation as well as ground source cooling/heating systems will enable the station to minimise energy consumption.
Photo credits: Jacopo Splimbergo.