Two centuries have gone by since the time when locomotives were considered the highest achievement of science. Even so, stations – ancient stations – still exert a timeless fascination.
Slow and noisy, located in wild and remote scenarios, many stations are not in use anymore, leaving behind breath-taking landscapes crossed by rusty cast iron strips and scattered with vernacular structures.
Rail infrastructures have long been neglected or abandoned, far from being object of architecture projects, as they are linked to a form of transportation that was considered obsolete and incompatible with the speed of modern times.
Today, however, a new sensitivity seems to be reopening the debate on the future of this heritage. Expressions like “sweet mobility” and “slow tourism” show a new desire for quiet, for a future in which life will not be all about speed and progress anymore.
In this future, old stations will have an important role to play.
What can we imagine for old stations then? How can we transform the small towns on their path?
These are the questions of Culture Stations, a competition organized by YAC and the Municipality of Elini, to reinterpret ancient railway infrastructures in terms of culture and tourism, considering them as opportunities for the areas they cross. Leaving aside their original functions and embracing a new cultural purpose, designers have endless possibilities: stations as museums, “case cantoniere” (roadmen’s houses) as accommodation, storehouses as ateliers, railway parks as open-air theatres, bridges and galleries as exhibition spaces.
The system of railway infrastructures of Elini is surrounded by art and culture, therefore this is a unique opportunity to create evocative itineraries for travellers who want to discover remote places, contemplate a moving landscape, and enjoy creative avant-garde artworks, accompanied by the rattling of an old locomotive.
YAC and the Municipality of Elini thank all designers who will accept this challenge.