Identity #1: Telecommunications-Observation Tower


  • Designer: 3Gatti
  • Work: Telecommunications-Observation Tower
  • Infrastructural System: Communications
  • Type + Intervention: New Construction of a Mobile Phone Tower
  • Location: Sogliano al Rubicone, Italia
  • Year: 2004 (Competition – winner)
  • Reference 1:
  • Reference 2: arch’it

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The site stands at a height that allows an excellent view of the characteristics and morphology of the area (the presence of gullies, the return to a natural state of former cultivated land).

The location foreseen for the tower is strategic for the diffusion of radio and telephone signals, it is on an axis with the town and it also is visible from a wide surrounding area. It is therefore of extreme importance to ensure that it would fit harmoniously into the landscape, particularly on the side towards Sogliano, while at the same time the visibility of the structure must be guaranteed. The tower would play an important but hidden role, and would house technological components (access/servicing stairs, equipment for telecommunications, car park) as far as possible without letting them be seen.

The façade of the tower that would look towards the town would be slanting and be built so that it could support a herbaceous bed attached to a lattice-work steel grid, inside which the stairs would wind. In this way the green surface overlooking Sogliano would limit the possible negative impact on the environment and at the same time, seen from the exterior would seem rather light and permeable – not like a tower but rather like a strip of ground that has risen up to harmoniously house the requested functions.

Observation points situated every six metres would permit a progressive opening-up of the panorama; while climbing the tower, a visitor could lean out from one of the openings in the “green skin” of the tower’s façade and enjoy a view over Sogliano and its valleys that are normally unavailable to the public. The tower would be an authentic green observatory, a living organism that mingles with the countryside and which reacts to the changes of the seasons. It would exert a complementary function as simultaneously it would be a point from which to admire the view, as well as a landmark for the surrounding territory.

At night time the edges of the green skin would be illuminated by a series of neon lights to emphasize the metaphor of a strip of land that has risen up. In this way the tower would continue to be an orientation point for the surrounding area, even by night.

The grass surface would be formed by a series of “green” boxes inserted into a metal grid arranged along the slanting side of the trapezium.

The green box is a rigid container with a hive-like structure composed of recycled plastic material.(Geoplast S.r.l. – PE HD and resistant to UV rays). The bee hive structure would help to keep the earth compact.

The seeds of the herbaceous plants would belong principally to the erxinia species, a choice determined by the fact that there is a northern exposure and the species’ capacity to cover areas rapidly and thickly.

Seeding in the boxes would take place in the nursery and only when the herbaceous carpet has gained in vigour and the roots have anchored well, would the boxes be placed on the lattice-work grid.

The strong carpeting and climbing characteristic of the erxinia species ensures both the invisibility of the joins between the boxes and adequate protection from erosion below. Additional protection is foreseen by fitting a green net over the boxes to guarantee resistance to meteorological factors. In addition it is foreseen that an adequate artificial irrigation and drainage system be installed to maintain a correct moisture level.


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