The new Cefalù station is part of a project to redevelop and reinforce the doubling of the “Fiumetorto-Cefalù-Castelbuono” railway line, and represents a substantial hub for the Palermo-Messina stretch. The strategic importance of the station with respect to the railway network in the Sicily Region is further expanded by the extraordinary historical, cultural and naturalistic interest of the city, which is characterized by significant architectural pre-existences and extensive coastlines that make it one of the most important tourist resorts on the Tyrrhenian coast. The underground station building has been interpreted as a large room with an elliptical plan recalling the tholos type, surmounted by a great vault in the shape of a truncated cone which terminates in an oculus to allow natural light to flood the interior spaces. This solution was inspired by popular examples of rock architecture on the northern coast of Sicily, expressly, the Gurfa system of caves; underground places of worship dating back to the Bronze Age linked together through a large tholos-style room illuminated by a top opening. The space is arranged as a great enveloping light well that evokes the experience of travelling and also, through the skilful use of the materials, the significant local historical and cultural heritage. From a functional point of view, the passenger flows inside the station occur on two distinct levels: the level of the access floor, connected to the plaza outside by an access tunnel, and the underlying platform level, directly connected to the rail services. The curvilinear inclined planes of the vault in the shape of a truncated cone cut across the access floor level, creating a wide circular path overlooking a central shaft that provides natural light and an unobstructed view of the platforms below, exalting the station’s perceptual uniformity and verticality. The shaft is also crossed by a central walkway, in line with the access tunnel, which allows access to the stairwells and lifts to the platform level; instead, at the sides are two pairs of escalators that add to the series of vertical connections. The design of these connections has been carefully defined to recreate a strict order to the diagonal lines of the stairs, limiting their footprint and allowing an increase in the available natural light and the views of the large volume overhanging the platform level. Thanks to all these solutions, the Cefalù station becomes a strongly suggestive and evocative space: an underground urban square in which the verticality, symmetries, light and material nature of the elements recall and interpret the city's rich historical and cultural traditions, offering users a stimulating transition between the infrastructural environment and the urban context and, more generally, between the experience of travelling and that of enlightened discovery

Project details

Cefalù (PA)
2014 – 2015