The design competition was born thanks to the opportunity granted by the Procurement Code. The type approach has been dictated by the complexity of the intervention, which is not limited to the design of the cableway, but introduces the construction in the mountain station of a refreshment point with panoramic terrace and, in the valley station, insertion in the urban context as a focal point of the station. The interventions are necessary to replace 2 lifts, La Liaison and Couis1, a tapis roulant, and to set in motion a process of innovation and "rejuvenation", which will make the area more and more enjoyable, not only to the fans on the domain but to improve the slow tourism. The main aim was to make the area increasingly competitive both in summer and in winter. We also want to introduce the concept "accessible tourism" which has important repercussions on the social fabric, as well as on the growth of the touristic competitiveness of the territory, making possible the involvement of a new target market and improving the value of social inclusion. Thanks to its realization, skiers will have the opportunity to spend 30% more of their time on track and, who wants to live the experience of the mountain in total relaxation, will enjoy a panorama unique in its kind. In summer the skiing area could be enjoyed by bikers and lovers of trekking that could benefit from a refuge with all the comforts. At 2750 m of altitude will rise the new “Stella del Couis” with an amazing new panoramic view and ambitious perspectives. This is the first step of a new vision of the Pila S.p.A board of directors that in the years to come, through the strategic plan shared with the property, will see the relaunch of its district and the activities related to it. Roads, bridges, viaducts, railway stations, cable cars, etc. are not only “functional” artifacts, but often large elements impactful on the landscape point of view. For years architectural culture has considered them uninteresting themes from the design point of view. At a certain point we realized that this attitude was producing "monsters" which were degrading the landscapes. With this awareness we have tried to give answers to the theme of the competition: to design the valley and mountain stations of the Nuova Telecabina Pila-Couis. From the very first steps we sensed that the specific situation presented multiple layers of complexity. It was a matter of responding to two completely different landscape contexts, the"valley" and the "peak". In the valley context the landscape, although at high altitude (1800m), presents strong horizontal tensions: the existing station of the Telecabina Aosta-Pila, a sequence of buildings, lapped by a vehicular road and a large esplanade used as a parking. The interchange point between the ski lift that arrives from Aosta and the new lift that will take to the top of the Couis is an opportunity to create a new centrality, a sort of secular cathedral designed by the tensions of the dynamic flows that will have to manage. The flows involved are 3. A round-trip exchange flow between the Aosta-Pila and the new Pila-Couis cableways, that we have represented with a very long roof that leans against the structure of the station and leads to the new station. An “approaching” flow is determined by the presence of the car terminal (parking) both for those who arrive in Pila by car or for those who live in Pila. With a movement equal and opposite to the previous one, an articulated roof welcomes the people and leads to checkouts, equipment storage and information point, then leads us in the vertical ascent with a large staircase, a spacious elevator or a convenient ramp that goes up on the west side, close to the existing station building. All the lifts lead us to a sort of covered square, on which overlook the public functions of the upper level operating block: the two ski schools and the information point. This space represents an important accumulation lung separated from the forward flow and return of the director Aosta-Couis. The third flow that our project wants to foreshadow and manage is that of the skiers' recirculation on the stretch Pila-Couis. Lightness, transparency, dynamic representation of flows, acceptance of horizontal stresses are the concepts that our project of the valley station aims to represent. Completely different condition to the upstream boundary. This is one of the most breathtaking viewpoints of the Aosta Valley where we can see the Gran Paradiso, the Mont Blanc, the Rutor Glacier and the Grand Combin. The plant lands on the "Piatta di Grevon" on the left, a little higher up the top. The station is a double inverted funnel, looking Pila and Cogne; it is the architectural representation of the diagram of the two directions and a sort of "embrace" to the top of Grevon. The bar and the restaurant lean on this "fold" and develops a fan, covering all the view from the Gran Paradiso to the Matterhorn. Since we are confronting the landscape, the open space, the architectural object must be seductive, sculptural, but at the same time sensitive to all the tensions of the context. It must be "beautiful" and "smart". We thought of a "edelweiss" grown on the Grevon plateau that, like all natural organisms, modifies its symmetrical vocation when it encounters an impossibility to develop in a certain direction. The suggestion of the "edelweiss" merges with that of the "Rose of the Winds", each petal looks in a precise direction; the first, the largest, is the one that welcomes the station and is facing Pila, the last is facing Cogne. The five petals of the bar restaurant are facing the highest and most spectacular peaks of the Aosta Valley, starting from the south: Gran Paradiso, Grande Rousse, Rutor Glacier, Mont Blanc and Grand Combin. Another petal challenges the difference in height and juts out towards the void in a northerly direction; it is a breathtaking viewpoint and from its end the look reaches the Matterhorn.
Jacopo De Carlo was born in Aviano 1965 and graduated in architecture at the Politecnico di Milano in 1993.
From 1994 to 1999 he collaborated with the Cibic studio in Milan, where he deals with architecture and interior design projects.
Andrea Gualla was born in Milan in 1965 and graduated in architecture at the Politecnico di Milano in 1994.
From 1994 to 2000 he collaborated in the course of architectural composition of Prof. Pietro De Rossi.
Since 2001 he has been a lecturer in Interior Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture of Milano Bovisa.
In 2000 they set up De Carlo Gualla in Milan, developing architectural and design projects. Supported by 10 collaborators among architects and designers, they design and build offices, private residences, shops and showrooms, participating in numerous national and international competitions, including the International Competition for the redevelopment of the city of Tianjin in China in partnership with the study PCMR, ranking second.