Campus Luigi Einaudi
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Campus Luigi Einaudi

Foster + Partners

Campus Luigi Einaudi
By Francesco Pagliari -
The new university buildings rise on the site of the old Italgas plant near the centre of Turin, along the River Dora Riparia. This campus is for the law and political science faculties, along with a vast library comprising five older library sections. The teaching rooms and laboratories are flanked by an admin centre, the reception area and food hall, giving the complex a truly contemporary university feel. The design is complex and articulated. In perhaps overly simply terms, it has a roughly triangular shape, where the internal open spaces, crossed by paved walkways and marked by trees and lawns, are a defining feature. The circular central area is a place to meet, relax, chat or simply to cross on the way to another building. The complex is also very open to the outside, permeable in numerous directions. Covered walkways link the buildings from the first floor up, leaving the ground floor connection routes open. The library is housed in three buildings along the River Dora, while the other complex of four buildings - faculty offices and classrooms - is more central. The unity of this entire complex is ensured by the architecture, despite the presence of two faculties and numerous different uses. The elevations are clearly and precisely related, divided into different floors by the ribbon windows that run right along the perimeter and the curved lines the lead off decisively from the points of the triangle. Externally, panels made of curved and painted aluminium mark the different floors, increasing the horizontal movement. The materials are in different hues of grey and silver, while the glazed panes have various degrees of transparency. The roof is the symbolic and functional reference point for the entire complex. A netlike structure of beams and arches supports the actual roof made of a waterproof fibreglass membrane lined with Teflon that is both highly durable and weather resistant. The roof extends across all seven buildings, producing symbolic unity and dominating the overall image. It juts out beyond all the elevations, providing a cunning technical solution to ensure a superb balance between sun and shade throughout the year. Internally, the living and visual comfort levels are such that writing desks can be placed right next to the glazed sections. The complex as a whole has two main sections, each given equal architectural importance through the use of a round, full-height central section that is flooded with magical light from above. In the library, the metal stairs with transparent banisters rise up with daring elegance in the middle of the space. In the faculty atriums, the stairs follow the circular flow of the perimeter, turning this space into a place where art and communication can enter into fruitful dialogue. Environmental-friendliness is at the heart of nearly every design decision, from the overhanging roof to protect the glazed walls, to the use of certified or fast-growing trees for wood panelling and floors. The external photocatalytic paving uses sunlight to neutralise hydrocarbon molecules. Finally, integrated systems ensure indoor comfort and reduce the costs for treating the air and lighting, with knock-on energy savings.
Francesco Pagliari

Location: Torino
Client: Università degli studi di Torino
Completion: 2013
Cost of Construction: 95.000.000 Euros
Architects: Tecnimont Civil Construction - Marco Visconti; Foster + Partners - David Nelson, Gerard Evenden, John Blythe, Martin Castle, Martina Meluzzi; Giulia Galiberti; Marilu Sicoli; Camerana & Partners - Benedetto Camerana; Giugiaro Architettura - Aldo Cingolani; ICIS - Cosimo Turvani; Mara Luciani; Studio Mellano Associati - Franco Mellano
Artistic Supervision: Foster + Partners - David Nelson, Gerard Evenden, Giulia Galiberti Contractors: Codelfa, Edart, Gozzo Impianti

Structural, Electrical Services, Mechanical Services, Environment Reclamation, Safety, Quantity Surveying, Quality Control: Tecnimont Civil Construction - Giovanni Battezzati , Alberto Cavallo , Roberto Molino, Carlo Chierto, Roberta Cocchiaro
Structural: Studio Ossola - Francesco Ossola, Studio Garzino - Giorgio Garzino
Tensile Roof Structure: SI.ME.TE. - Stefano Dalmasso, LVM Studio Associato - Mario Virano
Electrical Services: Teksystem – Roberto Pomè
Mechanical Services: Studio Renato Lazzerini - Marco Lazzerini
Detailed Design Coordination: ICIS - Luciano Luciani
Environment Reclamation: Vincenzo Scarola
Signage Design: CP Associates - Donatella Chiaruttini

Site-cast Concrete: Sile Costruzioni
Membrane Construction: Canobbio
Cladding: Focchi
False Ceilings: Coiver
Furniture: BC Spazi, Ares Line, Miodino
Lighting: Lindab

Roof Structure: Stahlbau Pichler
Glass: Guardian

Photography: 1-5-7/13-15-16-18-23-26/29 © Nigel Young, 2 © Michele D’Ottavio, 3-4-6-14-17-19/22-24-25-30/32 © David Vicario

Marco Visconti 
Marco Visconti graduated in architecture at the University of Genoa, followed by a postgraduate master in Architectural Design at the UCLA of Los Angeles and a degree in Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Turin. In Genoa he collaborated with Renzo Piano from 1984 to 1986. From 1987 to 2006 he was the head of the architectural group of Fiatengineering and subsequently of Maire Tecnimont. In January 2007 he founded an architectural firm focused on sustainability. This group is a creative laboratory where architects and engineers, focused on human needs, work together to find the best passive solutions for energy saving. Among the projects in industry, professional training and culture filed, noteworthy are: the engine production hall and the paint pavillon Ferrari, as well as the restaurant Ferrari in Maranello; the Iveco’s training center in Turin; the research center Fiat Sata in Melfi; Hitachi’s training centre in Lecce; Turin’s National Automobile Museum’s conference room, Mugello’s race track’s service building in Florence; Iren cogeneration and hydroelectric plant in Moncalieri; Zucchetti office tower in Lodi. Marco lectures on specific topics at Italian and foreign universities. He is the author of publications and thematic books and his projects are documented by major international journals of architecture.

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