High-tech company, Coveme, wanted a prestigious but measured building for its new headquarters on the industrial estate of San Lazzaro just outside the city of Bologna. In keeping with the mainly extensive, low-rise developments of the surrounding area, the architect has developed an articulated, flexible solution: one third of the 4,500 sq.m complex will be occupied by offices while the remaining two thirds will be given over to shops and tertiary activities.
More than just a business headquarters, the area will be a quality urban space with a public park and stone-paved footpath leading up to the building. The construction develops around a central courtyard which is the circulation hub and key architectural feature. Two large glass sails stretch out to provide partial coverage, giving an image of elegance and precision.
An all important feature for this low-rise structure with large expanses of curtain walling is the extensive greenery. Plants and trees are everywhere: in the central entrance court, on terraces as hanging gardens, on the roof alongside the technical plant housing and in the grounds. As well as linking exterior and interior, the greenery will provide a seamless link with the surrounding, ungated public park landscaped on different levels. Luminosity is another key feature. Extensive high-tech structural façades, together with the building’s careful volume composition - achieved by subtracting, staggering and extending the basic components of an elementary shape - allow natural daylight to filter to all parts of the building.
Glazed façades giving onto the interior or directly exposed to the sun’s rays are shaded by heavy-duty externally placed aluminium ‘fabric’ sun-shading blades. In this way, light intensity can be regulated as required. The structural frame is of the simplest: reinforced concrete beams and floor slabs, with mixed systems to sustain the overhangs and the sails over the inner courtyard.