The Torri di San Benigno office complex in Genoa was originally conceived 20 years ago and it has now been completed. The design by 5+1AA took a new look at the relationship between the building and the rather unique local area, in which road and port infrastructure is dominant, bringing artificial constructions into contact with horizons of endless sky and sea.
Optimising the volumes was seen as central to the project, clearly defining the main elements: the base and three towers that rise above it.
Aluminium panels were used to clad the different levels of the base section, using hues of blue to form horizontal bands. It is a compact, yet light volume, designed to house shops, the municipal archives and a parking lot.
The complex rises 23 floors with the 3 towers, which have glazed envelopes made with high performance glass by AGC. Once again, the colours are played on.
Differing iridescent colour modules are used for the envelope, with the darker hues favoured on the sides more exposed to the sun and lighter ones on the less exposed sides. Since the colours are coupled using a tone-on-tone approach, the overall effect is of horizontal nuances that shift as the viewing position changes, giving each tower its own subtle character. The use of alternating colours also ensures compliance with energy saving regulations, as the building meets the relevant local heat and sound insulation requirements. The shimmering façades change with the passing of the hours, months and seasons as well as the weather, sometimes creating an imposing, opaque effect and sometimes a far more fluid, reflective sensation, filled with transparency and mirror images that interact with the surrounds.
The fire escapes are attached to the exterior, seemingly climbing up it and shifting from one façade to another in a game of addition and subtraction that reinforces the uniformity while also adding to the complexity.