The new commercial and services centre in Clusone, northern Italy, designed by De8 Architetti is located at the end of the industrial area in the southern most part of the town.
Built to create a new urban space that dialogues with its immediate surrounds, the complex is several things at the same time. From afar, it is a landmark standing out clearly against the skyline; close up, it blends into its context, the glazed façades reflecting the mountain range beyond and the smaller buildings nearby. Entering the covered glazed plaza is like going into a familiar, welcoming enclosure.
The site plan eschews the typical parking lot/main entrance format in favour of a more complex system in which pedestrian routes converge on the inner plaza. Inside, a north-south circulation route on several levels runs the length of the complex. The various commercial and service spaces give onto the thoroughfare, their varying sizes mirroring the different geometries of the building itself.
The “double-skin” glazed façades of Ecoforum were developed and installed by Stahlbau Pichler. Besides low energy consumption thanks to the extensive penetration of daylight, the system also ensures comfort-zone interior conditions. The double envelope is dynamic, electronically operated to adjust ventilation through the air space to external weather conditions. To offset heat load variations across the façades, each glazed surface is divided into 6 m-vertical strips. A system of sensors regulates the amount of ventilation for each individual strip, ensuring more effective environment control and energy efficiency.
Choosing glass as the main construction element creates a dialogue between building and setting: the glazing reflects its surrounds, which are in turn visible from inside (The flat glass produced by AGC Flat Glass glass was processed by Union Glass). Colour, or the perception of colour, is another element that blends the Ecoforum building with its mountain landscape. The frames behind the green-tinted outer glazing have been painted in the different colours of the natural environment outside. The resultant “chromatic vibration” perceived by the human eye is the same as when we look at the mountains outside.
Although at first glance the Ecoforum complex may appear out-of-scale, it succeeds formally and functionally not only in blending with, but also enhancing its urban and natural setting.
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