CNA's New Headquarters, Rome, by Open Project Italy's national confederation of craft companies and SMEs (CNA) has a new headquarters in Rome near the Tiburtina train station in a residential district that grew up in the 20th century as a series of largely unconnected city blocks. The building is a modern construction that sits at a crossroads on a slightly sloping lot of land. Clear architectural and urban choices are evident in the design of this edifice for an organisation that needs to combine both business and social functions. The architects opted for an instantly recognizable building based on rigorous, rational architecture, where the structure is a local landmark and signifier of urban transformation. The use of materials, the focus on environmental issues and the desire to reduce energy requirements exemplify the building's contemporary nature, especially in the composition of the facades, the functional optimisation and the determination to create a "liveable" workplace.
The truly original entrance sits diagonally on the corner, creating a 3D effect that has clear undertones of a sculpted work. The elevations suggest both complexity and simplicity. The shiny crisp walls are characterized by the interplay between the use of ceramic panels on the ventilated walls, with travertine hues, and the free placement of the windows. The facades have both vertical and horizontal elements, with the windows giving a clear vertical sense and the design of the panels adding a definite horizontal effect. The overall pattern suggests complexity, with contrasts and overlaps between individual elements and the horizontal bands. On the Via Tommasini side of the building, the various elements lie on the same plane. On the western elevation, on Via Giorgi, an irregular cut in the volume reveals the inner core, creates a sense of movement, shows the internal system of connections, brings light to offices and meeting rooms and disrupts the linearity of the facades.
Continuity marks the external and internal features of the entrance, with the reception area set slightly below the street level outside. The deliberate use of broken lines and top quality materials become defining features evident in the projecting roof over the entrance and the multi-faceted sequences of pillars that highlight both real and virtual spaces.
The building layout encompasses meeting spaces, offices and multi-function areas. The lower of the two basement levels is used as a small parking lot and to house the archives, where special document storage equipment is located. The upper basement level is for classrooms and has other storage space. In the above-ground zones, the corridors are marked by different colours, moving from the stairwell and the lift towards the building's inner core. The spaces overlooking the street are for managerial offices and executive meeting rooms. Further meeting spaces are dotted across the building. The 170-seater auditorium on the ground floor is a multi-purpose venue, equipped with cutting-edge technology. It is a versatile space, with various touches - such as the folding chairs - allowing real flexibility of use.
Environmental considerations stood at the heart of numerous design decisions. For example, to create a truly comfortable working environment, a comprehensive automation system constantly controls air ventilation, light, temperature and humidity by, among other aspects, adjusting the indoor roller curtains, the windows and other elements that allow in light and air. The building is designed to achieve "performing efficiency" without the use of fossil fuels to make it a zero-emission construction.
Client: CNA Confederazione Nazionale dell'Artigianato e della Piccola e Media Impresa
Gross Floor Area: 5.374 m2
Architects: Open Project
Main Contractor: ATI Car + Giuliani
Structural: Studio Tecnico Majowiecki Architettura Strutturale
?Mechanical: Clima Studio 3
Electrical: Executive Energy
Furnishings: Paolo Castelli
Photography: 1/19 © Luca Capuano, 20/27 © Paolo Castelli Spa
Open Project S.r.l.
Established in 1984 by specialists in various areas of design and consultancy to effectively manage every aspect of the construction process from conception to works management, Open Project Srl is a multidisciplinary architecture and engineering firm. It has extensive experience in land use planning and the integrated design of complexes for the manufacturing, logistics, retail and agro-food sectors, social housing and residential builds. In response to changing needs in the redevelopment of brownfield sites, Open Project has expanded into property valuation and consultancy services.
In response to growing market complexity and specialization, in late 1988 Open Project obtained UNI-EN-ISO 9001 certification for architecture and engineering, which was extended in 2004 to works management. International specialist in the structural design of large constructions, Professor Massimo Majowiecki has now also joined Open Project. Today, the firm is a team of 42 professionals, including architects, engineers and technical experts, who work with a network of qualified external consultants and specialists on the various stages of each project.
Open Project’s design approach is based on environmental sustainability. The construction process typically involves large-scale consumption of non-renewable energy and the production of harmful emissions. Designing the built environment in terms of environmental sustainability, however, must be based on two fundamental criteria: the minimization of energy consumption (through the construction of intelligent building envelopes, good thermal insulation, sunscreens, the use of sustainable and recyclable materials, and intelligent water use) and the maximization of energy autonomy (through the use of renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal and wind energies). Open Project is a member of Green Building Council Italia, a non-profit organization founded in 1993 with over eleven thousand members, that works to educate and encourage public awareness of sustainable housing. The GBC manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in Italy, a set of rating systems for sustainable construction developed in the United States and applied in forty countries around the world.