Extension and Renovation of an Italian High School
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Extension and Renovation of an Italian High School

Michael Tribus

Extension and Renovation of an Italian High School
By Francesco Pagliari -

The extension is perpendicular to the existing building, located at the lowest level of the site. Ribbon windows, fitted flush to the cladding, provide natural light in the classrooms, which remains uniform throughout the morning hours. The electrically operated interior blinds maintain comfortable light levels in the afternoon. A full-height transparent element joins the pre-existing building and the extension, whose facade bends at an acute angle along the road and towards the old building, converging on the entrance to the small front quadrangle. The plan does, in fact, centre on the new entrance, which is set back slightly from the edge of the outer shell. The facetted appearance of the building, as well as the strong sense of geometrical precision created by a continuity between the facades and roof, recall the faceting of precious stones. The top of the prism is made up of two rotated layers that overlap forming a tilted ridge that cuts diagonally across the volume, while respecting the outlooks of the old classrooms. The access to the basement level was constructed with a curved retaining wall that separates the earth around the building from the building itself, forming an air space with double-height glazing that creates a transparent, brilliant partition. The stairwell is flooded with light, including from above through a skylight, which frames the sky and lets building users perceive any changes in the light. The titanium-zinc Rheinzink cladding, applied in vertical bands of light and dark, dissolves upward toward the roof, whose light colour blends with the gray-blues of the sky. The colours of the cladding – grey-green and light gray – reflect the hues of the Dolomites, with a compositional discontinuity typical of nature. The new building has ‘passive house’ characteristics and is classified as Class A according to ClimateHouse criteria. Solar panels integrated into the roof of the old school, some of which track the path of the sun, mean that the complex is energy self-sufficient. Equipment integrated into the windows of each classroom provide for automatic air exchange, regulated by CO2 detectors 2.

Location: San Vito di Cadore, Belluno
Client: Belluno Province Government
Completion: 2010
Gross Floor Area: 1.200m2
Construction Cost: 1.200.000 Euros
Architects: Renato Damian (architect-in-charge), Cristiano Da Rin, Michael Tribus
Design Team: Laura Bortoli, Mario Cabriel
Contractors: Impresa Merotto, Impresa Costruzioni Bortoluzzi 1901, Impresa Costruzioni Tollot, Franco Lavina Costruzioni

Paolo Dal Pont, Bruno De Paris

Solar Panels:
SEA – Sistemi Energie Alternative
Controlled Ventilation System: Friedl Amort
Doors and Windows: Kriptos Titanium-zinc

Roof Tiles and Cladding: Rheinzink

Photo by
Giuseppe Ghedina

Renato Damian (architect-in-charge)
Born in Belluno in 1950, Damian graduated from the Venice IUAV in 1977. He gained professional experience at Fitzroy & Robinson, SW London. In 1978 he began working in Belluno. He collaborated in the reconstruction of hotel complexes in Trentino, Friuli and the Alto Bellunese area. In 1984 he transferred his studio to Lorenzago di Cadore. He participates in design competitions. He designed the street furniture for the city centre of Pieve di Cadore and the redevelopment of its twentieth century expansion, a federal tennis centre, the conversion of eighteenth and nineteenth century public buildings, and the redevelopment of public spaces.

Cristiano Da Rin
Da Rin was born in Pieve di Cadore in 1967. He attended the Polytechnic of Milan and graduated in Architecture from the Venice IUAV. He established his studio in 1995. He is involved in restoration projects, new buildings, and low energy consumption buildings.

Michael Tribus
Born in Merano in 1967, Tribus studied in Florence, Vienna and Glasgow, and graduated in Vienna. He has worked freelance since 1998. He was among the first to devote himself, in 1999, to the passive house concept. In 2006 he was nominated for the City of Oderzo Architecture Award for his redevelopment of the former post office building in Bolzano, the first public building to achieve passive house standards in Italy.

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