simone subissati architects - The refurbishment of an eclectic building in the ancient port of Ancona
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The refurbishment of an eclectic building in the ancient port of Ancona

simone subissati architects

Renovation  /  Future
simone subissati architects
The project concerns the reuse of an eclectic building where the Fincantieri Head Office was formerly located, to be transformed into the new headquarters of the National Research Center - Institute for Biological Resources and Marine Biotechnologies (CNR-IRBIM) of Ancona, as being part of a more general plan, including territorial reorganization. The building, dating back to 1959, is located in the ancient port of Ancona and is the first one that can be seen on the waterfront, a few meters from the Roman Arch of the Emperor Trajan and immediately below the Romanesque cathedral of the city. The project consists of a functional refurbishment of the building, given the partially modified use, including repurposed rooms, earthquake proofing with seismic isolators at the base of the building, an essential modification of the building enclosure for greater global energy efficiency, a total overhaul of the technical systems and an inclusion of an automated system to manage energy loads. However, the project also includes some additions due to the need for more space and new purposes by the client. First of all the top floor will have an added section, actually occupying the area that was supposed to be built according to the original project which is unknown. Here there shall be a conference room and a lounge / meeting open space. Moreover new workstations shall be built above the entrance loggia. Such additions, which are part of the planned project brief, give a unique, regular and compact shape to the entire building. The designers thought they could create a new overall building avoiding, obviously, a historicist approach through the construction of new areas similar to the old ones or even of philological reconstruction, assuming how the missing parts could have been, i.e. the part of the attic floor which was not built in 1959. Also, it was avoided that the additions would further diminish the original building or create a strong contrast with it, which in this case was deemed as inappropriate, given the modest architectural value of the original building. The additions shall be divided into distinct blocks drawn with reference to elementary geometry and shall speak an ethereal and silent language, more inspired by the industrial buildings of the port than to the eclectic classicism of the building itself, like a scenography, a model, a “non-building”. Lightness was sought after through 'fullness' rather than through the false lightness and transparency of glass. The new parts of the building apparently have no openings thanks to a prestressed micro-perforated PVC membrane that is able to close each opening of the same colour as the plaster thus ensuring chromatic uniformity but at the same time providing great transparency inside. The breathable membrane of the additions also allows for natural ventilation and cooling of the work and common areas, through crossed ventilation, which the micro-perforated membrane contributes to, by fostering the use of indoor spaces with the windows open. A new and denied monumentality that dissolves in its fulfilment, starting from elementary archetypal elements marking the project after being re-written through seeing imaginative features other than that of architecture: theatre, cinema, digital art, object design. As to object design, the designers while referring to current trends and approaches, refurbished and revived old design objects and furniture. The pillars on the attic floor are oriented diagonally as resulting from an in-depth study for two reasons: 1. selecting the view towards the sea and the historic center of the city, avoiding the big silhouette of the four-storey building located on the quay partly right in front of the building. 2. optimizing the opening / closing ratio with respect to solar radiation for the internal microclimate. The inclination is designed so that solar radiation is maximum in the winter months and extremely limited in the summer months, due to the degree of rotation that the thin pilasters have in relation to the inclination of the sun's rays at certain times of the day. The entrance loggia and areas were fully modified. The loggia is currently closed in order to provide an entry system made by a double hall, with the first one corresponding to the old opened loggia and hosting an information post about the activities of the center and also small exhibits. Through a system of inclined floors, made of concrete, the truthful reception shall be reached – located where the old reception used to be – whose center shall be a coloured translucent crystal block. The system of inclined floors shall then continue to reach the mezzanine, thus integrating in the space complementing the reception and avoiding architectural barriers.
The structure of the additions is made of steel. All new surfaces are finished with self-cleaning plaster with nano-quartz technology. The window and door frames are made of burnished brass, featuring a minimal cross-section and all with either sash or vasistas automated opening for optimal indoor microclimate management.


 2400 mq


Simone Subissati Architects is a multidisciplinary research lab of residential and public architecture. It’s finalist for the Mies Van de Rohe Award 2022, takes part in the Architecture Biennale of Venice 2021 - Italian Best Practice Section - obtains numerous publications and covers on Italian and international magazines and an Honorable Mention Compasso d'Oro International Award in 2015.
The training of architect Simone Subissati is from the Florentine school, where he was a pupil by Remo Buti and Gianni Pettena among the founders of the Italian Radical neo-avant-gardes. He specialized in Bioclimatic Architecture and Sustainable Design with Prof. Arch. Marco Sala, one of the first professorships in Italy to deepen these disciplines. He lives and works between Ancona and Milan where he founded the Simone Subissati Architects studio.


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