Comfortable Spaces for the Architects of the Future
The basis of the project for a new architecture campus came from a few sketches donated to the Politecnico by Renzo Piano, with these elaborated by Ottavio Di Blasi, ODB – Ottavio Di Blasi & Partners, to create a project that integrates into a more general regeneration of the local urban area and greenery. The new design has profound respect for the site’s heritage while completely redeveloping an old complex on Via Bonardi to turn it into a welcoming campus suited to contemporary education. The two original buildings designed by Gio Ponti – known as the Clover and the Ship – were restored and flanked by three new volumes.
The latter were constructed so they could be rearranged internally to meet varied teaching needs, but for the exterior façade the clear brief was to favor large windows. This is a deliberate ploy to increase contact with nature, a goal also pursued through the terraces on the tops of the two shorter buildings. These provide additional spaces suited not only to events, but also training sessions. The 8,000-sq. m parterre plays an equally important role in the overall design, with the tree-lined square adorned with wired benches that provide an alternative space for studying.
For this project, Pellini, a company specializing in technical shading, supplied ScreenLine motorized Venetian blinds that are integrated into the double-glazing that is, in turn, inserted into curtain walls made using a transom-and-mullion system with specifically extruded minimal profiles. The blinds, at times 4-m high, have highly reflective, low-emissivity coated slats. This product is the result of focused research and development that, through numerous technical combinations and patented technologies, ensures good thermal insulation for the profiles, reduced transmittance and an optimal solar factor.
The architectural and functional characteristics of the campus ultimately made ScreenLine the best choice, especially as the classrooms and laboratories – which can be rearranged to provide the optimal space for whatever teaching is happening inside – have large windows. In such a context, the option to control the blind at the flick of a switch was ideal, allowing the shading system to be adapted to the changing light levels during the day, and also helping maintain the desired room temperature and user comfort.
The result is a blend of functionality and esthetics that is exalted by the possibility to activate the blinds simultaneously, in groups, adding visual unity to the façade. The goal is to minimize the visual impact and create a crisp esthetic, an aim also pursued through the essential design and minimal width of the slats, elements that combine to produce an innovative, technologically advanced look.