Underground spaces can serve a diverse and interesting range of purposes, as demonstrated by the 2015 candidates for the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association’s (ITA) innovative use award. This year’s nominees include burial crypts in Jerusalem, a loading dock beneath the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House and a transit station in Naples.
In total, 32 finalists have been named in eight categories for the awards, which will be bestowed in November at Switzerland’s Hagerbach Underground Conference and Exhibition Gallery.
“The field of tunnels and underground spaces is in constant evolution; technical innovations are numerous. The ITA Tunnelling Awards are to detect such treasures in a context of climate and demographic emergency,” says Soren Degn Eskesen, ITA’s president. “With more than 66 per cent of the global population (projected to be) living in cities in 2050, and regular floods caused by the global warming, the tunnels’ engineering has got a strategic role to play in the construction of sustainable urban areas.”
While other categories focus more on the technical aspects of tunnelling projects, the award for innovative underground spaces considers how the project outcome fits into the urban context. Among the nominees: large burial tunnels accommodating up to 300 individuals address Jerusalem‘s space shortage and high land costs; Sydney‘s vehicle access and pedestrian safety (VAPS) project creates unencumbered public space to complement one of the world’s best known architectural icons; and Naples‘ Toledo metro station uses art to uplift commuters’ journey 50 metres below grade.
Photo: The Toledo subway station in Naples