Piazza Garibaldi | Menaggio
In Menaggio, on the shore of the Lago Como (Lake Como) lies the Piazza Garibaldi. The square is clustered with the Piazza Largo Cavour. It’s a strange square: one side is coffered with the lake, its form is indistinct and there isn’t a main building.
Main street and building
The Via Giuseppe Mazzini is the main street and lies on the promenade of the lakes shore. The Via Calvi starts at the Chiesa di Santo Stefano and enters the square from out the north west. The site looks like a T-junction of booth streets at the shore.
Rarely, there is no main building at the square. Normally, the corner between the clusters squares is the location for the main building. At this plan particular it looks like the central building on this location is put in later than the surroundings. It ends the Via Calvi and separates the Piazza Largo Cavour from the Piazza Garibaldi. Without this building the square would be a big triangle, with the Via Giuseppe Mazzini at the long side and the Via Calvi opening at the triangles top corner.
At the spot of the main building stands an ordinary building with a café on the ground floor: this isn’t a main building. Although there is no main building, the square has an unique landmark: the Lago Como. This lake gives the square its unique character.
The Piazza Garibaldi exists out of a rectangle (north) and a triangle (south) part. These parts are clustered crooked and with an overlay. Piazza Largo Cavour is clustered to these parts with a break and also has a triangle shape. This clustering and these shapes make the site indistinct and makes me feel unpleasant.
Due t0 the central building (on the main buildings spot) the site has three smaller squares. The sizes are nice and make it an intimate composition. Without this building the one triangle square would be too big.
The edge between the square and the lake is nicely formed with a row of trees. These trees make the squares a enclosed entity. It encloses the square subtile, but makes it possible to look through the facade to see en experience the lake all across the square.
There is not a main building with a main function; the square is a part of the pedestrian area of the town centre.
The main irregularity is the indistinct map. A rectangle crooked with a triangle shape square clustered with another triangle. This irregularity dominates the site. The alignment of the buildings are also irregular. Due to it isn’t clear what the basis shape is, you don’t recognise the alignment as an irregularity, but as a messy composition.
The main feature of the square is the composition with two triangle shapes and a crooked rectangle. I like clustered squares with an overlay, but in combination with the crookedness, the site becomes unclear. Sitte already claims triangle shape square doesn’t work. All tough I like the triangle Piazza Collegiata in Bellinzona, at the Piazza Garibaldi it doesn’t work for me.
Without the central building the triangle square would be too big; with the central building the squares are clustered in indistinct shapes and make me feel unpleasant. The buildings location asks for a landmark and a main function. The central building is everything but that.
The enclosing with trees at the lakeside works well. It creates a facade that’s necessary at that side, but still let you experience the qualities of the big lake with a panorama view.
What do you think?
How do you rate the Piazza Garibaldi as an urban square?