ZHA’s curved concrete Napoli Afragola station inaugurated

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 intercity lines, three inter-regional lines and a local commuter line.

The station has been constructed as a reinforced concrete base that supports an elevated concourse of steel ribs clad in Corian with a glazed roof. The concrete used within the station is a specific composition that provides optimum performance, with curved structural concrete elements built using technologies initially developed during the construction of the MAXXI Museum in Rome: wooden formwork replaced by prefabricated steel units, and double-curves realised with formwork created from CNC milled polystyrene models.

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.

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.

Main materials

  • 30,000 m³ of concrete
  • 4,500 T of steel
  • 5,600 T of metal carpentry
  • 20,000 m² of cladding panel
  • 6,000 m² of glass façade/cladding