The current Gandria district of the City of Lugano is an ancient settlement of fishermen and farmers, on the shore of Lake Ceresio at the foot of Monte Brè. It is a characteristic and picturesque location, inscribed on the ISOS list (Inventory of Swiss Settlements to be Protected). Today Gandria has an important tourist importance thanks to its particular geographical situation and its spatial qualities.
The landscape of Gandria is characterized by terracing with crops and dry stone walls since ancient times.
Numerous sources testify that the cultivation of olives in Gandria has been present since the ‘300.
Only in 1951 the core of Gandria was connected to the international road built in 1936. The Gandria district is equipped with a parking lot that was built in the seventies next to the cantonal road that connects Lugano to Porlezza, in Italy. Between the car park and the lake there is a difference in height of 54 meters. The parking area and the stairway leading down to the lake are the doors to the olive path.
The arrangement of the stairway at Lake Gandria fits into the wider redevelopment project of the olive path developed in a team with the Oikos environmental consulting and engineering studio. The overall project involves the enhancement of the numerous olive trees and the arrangement of the pedestrian path that crosses the town, connecting different terraced areas cultivated with olive trees.
Before the intervention, the stairway that runs along the cemetery and connected with the above parking area was made of concrete and was in poor storage conditions, the handrails and railings were out of the norm. The project proposed the construction of a new staircase with massive stone steps that use the treads of the previous steps as laying surfaces.
The staircase exceeds a height difference of 14.4 meters and has 72 steps and 5 landings. The new stone steps were manufactured in the stonemason’s workshop of the city of Lugano using ancient steps that were deposited there. All the steps of the staircase have already had a “previous life” and come from different places, have different types of profiles and are of different types of stone. The traces of their use have been kept in view. The landings are made with unique pieces, also made from old slabs already used. The parapets were made of raw iron with a natural oxidized finish. The uprights are flat in stone with two clamps, panels are then fixed with panels made with a full round and rounded corners, the panel infill is made of rough wavy mesh.