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'Green over the Grey' is the slogan prompted by the people of Matera's desire to cover the infamies of a recent past by bringing nature back into the cities. Matera, of course, has rocks, the 'sassi,' as well as green spaces. Ambasz finds great resonance between his architecture and that of the sassi. The organic landscape produced by the fusion of architecture and nature that distinguishes the design was inspired by the natural-artificial landscape that has been a feature of Matera and its environs for millennia. The design transforms Piazza della Visitazione from a barren car park to an Agora, 'filled with light, green shade and water, symbolism and artistic worth inspired by physical expressions closely linked to episodes of urban life and to materials and forms with a dual ancient and modern identity,' exactly as requested by the competition. The design satisfies the requests of the program to: create a large park for all the city's inhabitants and with diversified spaces for children, the elderly, young people and visitors to the historic city, as well as those attending conferences; excavate a number of buildings in the park a canyon-ravine, a theatre-symbol, a building-sinkhole that will create a 'metropolitan underground with the morphological features of Matera's subterranean buildings,' filled with activities and services and vibrating with life every day; - unite the city of the plain with the fledgling hillside city via the invention of connecting green bridges that exploit the natural orography of the terrain; create a gateway to the city worthy of Matera's history that will steer tourists/visitors/guests to theme zones, by guiding them, for example, through an idyllic landscape from the bus or railway station to the visitor center in Piazza Vittorio Veneto; insert the new underground station beside the delightful sloping pedestrian route (canyon) dotted with retail and service units; the descending canyon will also link the theater and parking system; insert, beneath the park, a microcosm of activities that can add to the offer of public spaces and quality services while, at the same time, creating opportunities for economic development via the use of project-financing to build public works with private capital; build an auditorium/multi-use theater that is lively, flexible and suited to the city's multiple needs, providing that required for Matera's candidature as a capital of culture, and that blends organically with the design and urban geography and acts as a symbol and an amplifier of the city's historical attractions; build a large number of underground car parks, partly to serve the new activities and partly as a back-up to the gradual pedestrianisation of the old city centre.


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