Leoni square (”Piazza Leoni”), located in the village of Torrechiara, fit into an extremely valuable cultural and natural landscape.

The key point of the village is the Torrechiara castle, which belongs to Parma and Piacenza duchy´s castles and fortresses system. Specifically, the castle welcomes the way to the Torrechiara urban compartment and its square.

Torrechiara´s square peculiar role in the landscape, represented by the Parma stream valley, is to create deep and important connections, due to its strategic location between the Padan plain (“Pianura Padana”) and the Tuscan-Emilian appennines (“Appennino Tosco-Emiliano”).

In the context described above, the water system gathered a key role in the interrelation between Torrechiara and its territory as well as in the definition of the urban structure influenced by old channel tracks, used in the past as water source for agriculture.

The first step of the project involves the gaining process of the historical data, which shows how an ancient channel was flourishing along the diagonal line of the square. This ancient track is indeed taken from the project as the starting point in the design of the urban space.

The design reshapes the contemporary pavement slopes and gives to the old channel track the key role of the drainage channel. On the starting and ending points of the channel, two elements are placed and interrelated with water connection, based on the communicating vessels principle. The first one is a water pond embedded in the ground whose water surface is in line with the surrounding pavement. This first basin collects the water from the city fountain. The other side is completed by a circular tub, which, raising from the ground, marks the location of the principal viewpoint towards the castle. This composition emphasizes how the inner water surfaces keep, inside both basins, the same height, despite the sloping drainage line.

The path is surrounded and completed by a linear frame, which, raising from the ground, takes the shape of a long stone bench. The frame, besides being the principal gathering and rest area, defines also the square border from the street. The paving design implements the use of several stone cuts, in order to emphasize the difference between the pedestrian path, the driveway and the most significant areas of the square. For the central part small size cobblestones are chosen, while for the path running beside the buildings facades bigger size cobblestones are selected.

Moreover, local sandstone paving system is designed for the square area at the intersection with Martini Bernini street. This represents indeed the main pedestrian path. The aforementioned pavement continues also beyond the square limit, marking the lines reserved to the pedestrian along the side streets.


architect: OFFICE x Sara Maduro Raffaele Sarubbo  |  team: Sara Maduro, Raffaele Sarubbo  |  client: Langhirano Municipality  |  status: Competition (2018)  |  location: Torrechiara, Italy (44.656630, 10.278704)  |  climate: Humid subtropical, Temperate  |  material: undefined  |  environment: Old town  |  visualizer: Studio  |  scale: large  |  types: public space, square  |  views: 2.394