The new Lugano arts and cultural centre was designed by Ticino architect Ivano Gianola. It rises at the entrance to this Swiss town, beside the old Grand Hotel Palace and a 16th-century religious complex housing the Order of Friars Minors and the church of Santa Maria degli Angioli.
The design was chosen in an international competition in 2000 and places the complex at the centre of a cross where the park and lake to the east and west - two key natural features that help define Lugano - meet the old centre and the 20th-century urban expansion to the north and south.At the very heart of the design lies the decision to create an L-shaped structure for, in the one double-storey raised wing, the museum and, in the section perpendicular to this, the foyer and a 1,000-seater theatre and auditorium. In combination with the old hotel and the convent, the complex defines a new square overlooking the lake where outdoor events can be held; there is also an underground parking lot. This is the town's third urban hub and meeting point, located at the tip of the long axis that connects it to the greenery of Parco Ciani, with the historical heart of the city - Piazza della Riforma - midway. Green Guatemalan marble is used to clad the façades and the same natural stone was also selected for the foyer. The theatre interiors are panelled with service tree wood, while the lobby and museum have natural stone, wood and resin cladding and coating. The doors and windows are metal and wood. It was important to make the building environmentally friendly so, for example, the heating and cooling is done using the energy from the lake water.
LAC is far more than a mere cultural centre, acting as a space for relaxing, exchange and a key meeting point for locals. For example, the large glazed foyer is a hub where people meet before heading off to the museum, theatre, park or square. The see-through nature of the full-height shell for this section means that people can see inside during the day, but at night it becomes a centre for light and life, visible from a distance and adding to the lake front view of Lugano.
Client: Città di Lugano
Gross Floor Area: 9.125 m2
Cost of Construction: Euros
Architects: Ivano Gianola
Works Management: Francesco Ricci
Contractor: Comsa - Ed.Im. Suisse
Structural: Passera & Pedretti – R.Artari, Borlini & Zanini – C.Zanini
Technical Systems: Elettroconsulenze Solcà – D. Menaballi
Acoustics: Müller-BBM – Jürgen Reinhold
Photography: © Alessandra Chemollo, Christian Richters
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