Architect Filippo Taidelli from FTA won the first prize in the “shopping and office centers” category at the 11th edition of the Grand Prix with his Congress Centre project, together with the broader intervention on the Humanitas University Campus.
The ventilated facade of the Congress Centre was made with 60- x 120-cm porcelain tiles from Casalgrande Padana’s Marte collection in the “Botticino” color. The facade of the Humanitas University Campus’ features 45- x 90-cm tiles from the Amazzonia collection in “Dragon Beige” and “Dragon Brown,” as well as the Pietre di Sardegna collection in the “Porto Cervo” color.
Both projects show refined sensitivity in harmonizing the quality of spaces and the coverings by using different shades of earthy colors for the ventilated facades of the various architectural blocks.
For the interiors of the Congress Centre, Taidelli selected tiles from the Architecture collection in “Dark Ivory” and the Technic collection in “Bianco,” with a roccia finish. For the interiors of the Humanitas University Campus, he chose 30- x 60- and 60- x 60-cm tiles from the Chalon collection in “Chalon Grey,” and 20- x 20-cm tiles from the Technic collection in “Nebraska” and “Nevada,” with a reticolo finish.
Humanitas Congress Centre
The new lobby of the Humanitas Congress Centre is a 600-square-meter (6,458-square-foot) expansion of the hospital pavilion that currently houses the Congress Centre. The aim was to create an entrance that was independent of the hospital and existing conference rooms.
This solution combines the representativeness that had to characterize the new space with the formal features of the existing body.
Located between the municipalities of Rozzano and Pieve Emanuele in Italy, the project marks the passage between the hospital and the park of the new campus, where the university buildings and research laboratories are situated.
The new lobby of the Congress Centre was made by reinterpreting and modernizing the existing formal elements to match the new buildings of the Humanitas University Campus.
The ventilated facade is made with 60- x 120-cm porcelain stoneware tiles from the Marte collection in the closest shade to the pre-existing building, “Botticino,” with a natural surface anchored to a lightweight structure fixed to the masonry. A continuous layer of thermal insulation interposed to the masonry encloses the whole building.
The laying geometry was changed compared to the existing building, shifting from a brick-bond pattern to an offset pattern, staggered on the shorter side. The design was the same used for the buildings of the university campus.
The glazed box connected to the hospital pavilion appears as an ethereal volume that ensures transparency and visibility both from the inside and the outside, thereby transforming it into some sort of a lantern at night.
The play of volumes with a stone appearance is another element of rupture. The glazing facing southeast overlooks the park of the nearby university campus and is filtered by giant elements that give rhythm to the glazed facade while providing shade.
The full exploitation of the glazed surfaces optimizes the flow of natural light and ensures continuity between the interiors and exteriors.
The interior is a flexible space with various service rooms. This layout allows for different configurations for different activities, including meetings, conferences, presentations, or even parties, while serving as a foyer for the conference rooms.
The sound-absorbing coverings of the interior walls facing the entrance form a curtain wall interrupted only by the glazed spaces that mark the entrance of the service rooms, thereby ensuring great fluidity without compromising acoustic comfort.
The Casalgrande Padana porcelain stoneware flooring in the neutral shade, “Chalon Grey” of the Chalon collection, appears like an endless carpet that continues even in the outdoor spaces.
Whenever needed, indoor activities can also be carried out in the outdoor areas, which have been equipped to be used as a natural extension of the interiors.
Humanitas University Campus
The campus has been designed to house the 1,200 students from 31 countries around the world, as well as faculty, researchers, a 2,000-square-meter (21,528-square-foot) simulation lab -- one of the largest and most advanced in Europe -- high-tech classrooms, a digital library and a student residence.
The campus has a central position with respect to the general masterplan. This allows for great flexibility for future expansions and ensures a physical and visual connection with the existing hospital. The formal unity with the existing Humanitas buildings blends with the new independent volumes of the campus, which reflect the different activities they house. This creates some sort of little village surrounded by uncontaminated nature.
The volumetric composition of the campus hints at old farmhouses and the introvert character of its volumes built harmoniously around the courtyard. This concept is taken to the extreme by overlapping volumes that add dynamism to the complex. The new courtyard becomes a piazza for the students and leads to the three glazed entrances of the buildings.
The project includes the expansion of the agricultural park between the new buildings, which was accomplished by adding various native plant species, as well as by increasing and enhancing spontaneous vegetation to connect the campus with the rest of the hospital complex. The project was developed paying special attention to environmental issues, which has allowed for a considerable reduction in energy consumption.
The project is composed of polychrome volumes with three different claddings in the warm shades, “Dragon Brown” and “Dragon Beige” of the Amazzonia collection and “Porto Cervo” of the Pietre di Sardegna collection. The texture of the volumes accentuates the dynamism of the complex, generating a human scale relationship with the piazza and making the facade more vibrant, according to the light.
All the buildings have the same ventilated facade made with 45- x 90-cm Casalgrande Padana porcelain stoneware tiles laid on a lightweight structure fixed to the masonry. A continuous layer of thermal insulation interposed to the masonry encloses the whole building.
The opaque facades are interrupted by windows with asymmetrical white frames and the large windows of the lobby.
The highlight of the main building is the patio with the brise soleil roof, which provides natural light and air to all floors, preventing sun glare or overheating issues in the interiors and the garden.
The courtyard enhances the dynamism of the rooms overlooking it like a kaleidoscope and visually connects them and the surrounding greenery through the glazing.
The transparency of part of the volumes ensures horizontal (between interiors and exteriors) and vertical visual continuity (between different floors and activities) through the triple-height hallways, which encompass the vertical distribution of the main building.
The interiors have the same play of volumes created through polychrome masses arranged on various floors, which characterize the various areas of the campus.
The colorful sound-absorbing coverings, which are interrupted only by the spaces that mark the entrance of the classrooms, ensure acoustic insulation in the open and articulated spaces.
The flooring with the stone effect porcelain stoneware tiles in “Chalon Grey” from the Chalon collection, which mimic natural ceppo di grè stone, is laid with a staggered pattern on the shorter side and continues like an endless carpet even in the outdoor areas of the building.
The Congress Centre project, together with the broader intervention on the campus, shows refined sensitivity in harmonizing the quality of spaces and the coverings. The choice of different shades of earthy colors for the ventilated facades of the various architectural blocks emerges clearly in the campus project.
This choice defines the image of a new contemporary urban village in the countryside just outside the city.
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