Piazza Unità d'Italia
That most individual characteristic of the historic European piazza – being a volumetrically enclosed yet contextually exposed public place – finds in Piazza Unitå d'Italia at Trieste a primary and exemplary case.The parallelepipedon, opening its arms towards the sea, is defined on three sides by monumental architecture, on the fourth by a horizon ruffled by the northeast Adriatic wind, the fifth is the sky, and the sixth is the tapestry of the pavement. Bernard Huet with his associate architects, Ceschia and Mentill, indeed, interweave Colombino and Aurisina stone within a clear and controlled design, reproducing, in the overall look of the ground surface, the planar and chromatic homogeneity of the open, upper face. The more than fifteen thousand square meters of surface are entrusted to elements of a traditional size and fashioning, pinning success on its integration, austere and without changes of tone.
The sandstone, in order to protect pedestrians in case of ice or exceptional weather conditions, presents a well-worked finish, flamed and sawn. Some slabs bear a smooth rib along the edge to enable the collection of floodwater. The Aurisina stone, usually bush-hammered, is principally used to give shape to urban furniture; it also features in pavement inserts, which house several points of light. These combine with points of blue color in the visual picture composed by the coming twilight. They are included in a well-defined pattern in the overall pavement design, playing a key role in creating the precise rhythm in the way the space is occupied. The overall pavement design is sub-divided into two principal areas within the square's unique trapezoidal layout, funneling the focus towards the sea: the first and principal one is subdivided by central geometric principles, beginning with the monumental fountain and following the center line of pylons towards the sea; the second, more sheltered from the water, emphasizes the two entrances of the corner buildings on the gulf.
On the two long sides of the open space, by virtue of the reduction of the width between them and the facing fifth, special paving solutions were devised for the edge with twinned slabs of equal dimensions that are varied every now and again.