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Impressive "Doorway to the South": Porta del Sud railway station, Italy

At the beginning of June 2017 the Porta del Sud near Naples is scheduled to be opened. The ultra-modern railway station for high-speed trains in Naples Afragola forms the major intersection on the Rome-Naples-Salerno line. The new station, designed by the British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, was conceived in the form of a bridge that floats 30 m above the railway tracks and links them together. This futuristic station thus acts as a gateway to the city of Naples.

With S-shaped arches, curved walls, intersecting and converging halls and pathways, the architecture was inspired by the traffic flows of the travellers. At the same time, the structure is designed in such a way that visitors to the station are optimally guided through the building and thus reach their destination as quickly as possible.

20,000 m² of usable floor space on five station levels

Around 20,000 m² of usable floor space is spread over a total of five station levels. In addition to the two main buildings at the eastern and western ends, four reinforced concrete building cores are being built which will be used to reach the central atrium. From there, stairs and escalators lead to the platforms on the lowest level and to the shops on the upper level. The main building materials used for the Porta del Sud are concrete, glass and steel. Reinforced concrete work was carried out for slabs covering an area of around 19,000 m² as well as walls totalling 26,500 m² – of which approx. 16,500 m² featured architectural concrete requirements. In addition, the two platforms, each 450 m long, along with the associated supporting structure were constructed using 44 concrete Y-shaped piers.

Key requirements for the construction work were a very high quality for the concrete surfaces so that, in particular, planning the formwork and scaffolding as well as the concrete processing became the focus of the work preparation. In order to meet the architectural demands, the contractor together with PERI engineers developed an overall solution as a combination of standard system components and customized formwork constructions.

The curved geometries as well as the defined joint and anchor pattern featured in the design spoke in favour for using VARIO GT 24 for forming the walls. Characterized by the special adaptability to accommodate complex shapes and a high load-bearing capacity, the wall formwork was used for the curved and inclined walls. The formwork units were planned with element heights of up to 12 m. For the more complex curvatures, polystyrene elements on the formwork formed the negative of the subsequent wall. These polystyrene negatives were developed by means of 3D planning, and mounted on the formwork elements on the jobsite.

For forming all other walls, the construction team used a universal wall formwork. With this proven panel formwork, the standard walls with their architectural concrete requirements were also constructed. In the process, a decisive factor for meeting the required surface quality was the use of high-grade 1,500 mm x 3,000 mm formwork panels. For the remarkable railway station in Naples, PERI supplied a total of 30,000 m² plywood panels with different thicknesses and dimensions – including large-sized 7,500 mm x 2,700 mm panels.

Customized steel formwork for Y-shaped piers

Due to the strong inclination of the Y-shaped piers and high demands regarding the architectural concrete surfaces, the column formwork was planned and produced complete with 6 mm thick steel sheeting and bracing ribs for installing the external vibrator.

Profile of Zaha Hadid

The spectacular projects of Zaha Hadid with their characteristic, elegant forms are unique and frequently border on the impossible. The famous Iraqi-born architect was the first woman to be awarded with the Pritzker Prize in 2004 – the "Nobel Prize" of architecture. Many of the buildings she designed were successfully realized including the Aquatics Centre in London, MAXXI National Museum in Rome, refurbishment of the listed Stadtbahnbögen building in Vienna and the so-called Generali Tower in Milan. Zaha Hadid died on 31 March 2016 at the age of 65.

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Afragola, Napoli, Campania, Italy (2017)

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