In 2006 the Italian Commune of Dueville held a competition for the design of a multipurpose building based around an indoor space for non-competitive sports and recreational activities that would meet the needs of a range of users. The location of the building, a site owned by the local commune between a kindergarten and an elementary school, immediately suggested points of reference because of the low height of these surrounding buildings. It was later decided to extend the range of uses of the complex to include cultural events. Giorgio Santagostino and Monica Margarido (Studio GSMM) were the winners of the competition with their design of a multipurpose building that fitted in with its surroundings. Despite the nature of the functions the building was to perform, the two architects proved that it did not need to be an overwhelming architectural presence. To achieve this, the design took into account the heights of the existing buildings, resolving the issue of the considerable height needed for indoor sports by dropping the floor below street level. The upper section of this multipurpose space is above ground. Three sides have glazed curtain walls, giving it a largely transparent and light appearance, while also offering users a backdrop of sky as they play their particular sport on the multipurpose court, marked out for basketball, volleyball, and other sports. The architectural element that most distinguishes this multipurpose building is its roof, which marks out intersecting spaces. The roof has volumetric substance with highly distinctive geometries: high, faceted, and with intersecting flat and pitched sections, the roof soaring from the true perimeter of the building, while also creating a separate public space beneath its cantilevered sections. The soffit’s gypsum board finish extends outside to create an impression of continuity, further emphasized by the colours used for the exposed reinforced concrete structures around the edge of the building. Steel beams support the roof, which is finished with layers of artificial grass and sand. The most striking architectural aspects of the building include the roof, which has a solid, looming appearance that is simultaneously sleek because of the soffit design, with its variety of sloping sections creating different perceptions. There is also the interior space itself, which is divided into different sections. Besides the main hall, there are rooms, with a fair-faced concrete finish, for complementary functions and with separate entrances. These rooms, which enhance the versatility of the building, include a reading room as well as a public foyer-type area with striking transparent walls, covered – but not sealed – by the overhang of the roof. The walls have a wood and cement finish in the basement area, with the blind wall in fair-faced concrete. The large timber entrance doors add texture and colour, giving extra interest to the walls. This design brings together the need to express a clear identity through architectural and geometric features, while interweaving simplicity, practicality and elegance.
Location: Dueville, Vicenza
Client: City of Dueville, Rup Valter Bez
Gross Floor Area: 1.390 m2
Cost of Construction: 1.315.000 Euros
Architects: Giorgio Santagostino, Monica Margarido
Design Team: Olga Chiaramonte
Contractor: Mec 2000, Cosfara
Structural: Gap Progetti - Alessandro Gasparini
Plants: Brescia Progetti
Cladding: Viroc Portugal
Interior Acoustic Panelling: Eraclit
Sports Court Floor: Limonta Sport
Doors and Windows: Metra
Photos: © Michele Gusmeri
gsmm architetti. giorgio santagostino monica margarido architetti
Giorgio Santagostino was born in Milan in 1968. In 1991 he won an Erasmus scholarship to study at the UTL in Lisbon. In 1993 he graduated in architecture from the Politecnico di Milano, while in 1994 he won a Comett scholarship. Between 1995 and 1999 he worked with a number of architecture studios in Italy and Portugal. From 2000 to 2002, he worked at João Luis Carrilho da Graça’s studio in Lisbon. Between 2003 and 2005 he lectured at the Politecnico di Milano and since 2004 has been an assistant professor at the Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio, Switzerland.
Monica Margarido was born in Lisbon in 1972. In 1998 she graduated in architecture from Universidade Lusiada in Lisbon. Between 1998 and 2002, she worked at João Luis Carrilho da Graça’s studio in Lisbon, and between 2002 and 2004 with Rodolfo Dordoni in Milan.
In 2000, Giorgio Santagostino and Monica Margarido began collaborating together, and in 2002 they opened ‘gsmm architetti’ in Milan. Among the various recognitions the studio has received are the 2001 Peter-Joseph-Lenné Prize (Berlin), a merit award in the competition for the Jeongok Prehistory Museum in Korea, and the Europan prize in 2010.
Some of the key issues that the studio focuses on are design for flexibility and spatial reversibility, and environmental and social sustainability. Their work is intended to trigger reactions, encourage involvement, and explore the characteristics of places by highlighting their potentialities and qualities.