The new Zurich Assicurazioni head office forms part of the masterplan to upgrade the former Carlo Erba sites, once a fenced-off manufacturing plot. The root of the project was the chance it afforded of opening up the site perimeter and creating continuity with the urban fabric. The whole estate is envisaged as permeable, part of the park, a place where a public space merges with private land. The building plans consist of two long terrace-style constructions raised on a two-tier base course to take up the gradient differences and uniting areas designed for an archive with more street-oriented functions. The raised area forms a kind of artificial landscape where a network of paths lead to a large central glade: a garden planted with high trees. A gigantic range of slanting pillars directly support the first artificial plane carrying a raised terrace that forms a broad square giving onto the garden. This channels the company’s collective movements, a sorting ground for office access. A good work space by definition optimises the part used for distribution in relation to the surface area available. The higher building to the west stands in dialogue with the great wide spaces of the park. It forms the main façade and is rounded off with a geodesic structure complete with a lantern oriented towards the town centre. This houses one of the reception rooms, a large empty area with no supporting columns, enhancing the effect of transparency and shimmering light. It focuses the eye and becomes a town landmark. The building also contains an auditorium on the upper tier of the base course. Its inner cavity is in the form of an irregular truncated pyramid, developing along the spread of the visual cone.
Client: Europa Risorse, Maciachini Properties
Gross Floor Area: 36.000 m²
Construction Cost: 68.000.000 Euros
Architects: Alessandro Scandurra - Scandurrastudio
Main Contractor: Colombo Costruzioni
Structural: BMS Progetti, Somec M&AE, Sossai Group
Systems: Ariatta Ingegneria dei Sistemi
Interior Design: Digit&associati, Scandurrastudio
Glazed Façade: Somec M&AE
Balustrades: Vetreria Busnelli
Blinds: Model System Italia
Helicoidal Staircase: Metallconcept Internatl
Finishings for Auditorium: Deko Collezioni
Photo by: 1/7-11/17 © Filippo Romano 8/10 © Pino Guidolotti
Alessandro Scandurra (1968) graduated from the Milan Polytechnic. Since 1993 he has worked with architect Umberto Riva. He designs stage sets and did the scenery for the Deutsche Staatsoper’s Fidelio for performances in Berlin, Paris, Venice and Jerusalem. In 2001 he set up Scandurrastudio which specializes in architectural, urban and interior design, as well as stage productions and image design for businesses. In 2004 he came third in the international competition for the Lombardy Region building. His recent successes include the new Zurich Assicurazioni head office in Milan (2009), which has been nominated for the Mies Van der Rohe Award 2011, and the Scala theatre bookshop, Milan (2008). He took part in the last two editions of the Venice Architectural Biennale. In 2009 he designed the venue for the third edition of the exhibition “Gold Medal to Italian Architecture” at the Milan Triennale. Ongoing projects include a three-tower residential complex in Milan, scheduled to be ready by 2013, and a landscape attenuation project for an industrial works at Brindisi involving a proposal for a territorial park. From 2004 to 2007 he taught at the Milan Polytechnic. Since 2005 he has been an invited tutor at the SUPSI University School in Lugano.