In the northern Italian city of Trento, the RPBW architectural practice has regenerated an old industrial plant along the river Adige, near the city centre, to create the nucleus of a new district called Le Albere. The work created apartments, offices, shops and restaurants as well as two regionally important centres, an auditorium and a science museum (MUSE).
Greenery is the defining feature in these parts, a key element in the network of cycle paths crossing the area. Vehicles are only allowed on the ring road around the site and the parking areas are underground.
Energy savings and environmental sustainability were driving features of the building designs, making it almost inevitable that MUSE is a centre for the cultural and scientific dissemination of ecological and sustainable development ideas.
The museum has six floors, including two basement levels, and is composed of four interconnected volumes (office block, lobby, museum proper and greenhouse) that posed numerous construction and technological problems. Stahlbau Pichler was behind the structure, façades and roofing, using customised aluminium frames.
The roof has a single 20° pitch (off the horizontal) facing east to form the roof and façade for the entrance lobby, running along the building and, to the north, facing the greenery of Palazzo delle Albere.
The main structure has 9 beams, including 2 made by coupled metal frames and 7 using a steel grid structure. The north and south facing façades have frames made of steel and aluminium.
The main roof for the complex, at 60° off the horizontal, creates a waterproof area between the first and fifth floors. In the upper sections, sunscreens are supported by a steel frame.
For the tropical greenhouse, surrounded externally by a basin of water, Stahlbau Pichler created 2 sections that once again function as both a roof and a façade, although they are also topped by a more horizontal section.
The installations are centralised and mechanised, using renewable energy sources. The energy solutions, materials, construction site management and integration of the building into the surrounds were all elements that helped MUSE earn LEED® NC 2.2 Gold certification.
Steel was critical to the construction, as this recyclable and reusable material brings together flexibility and resistance while offering excellent heat and sound insulation. The use of steel was also fundamental in optimising natural light and creating a dynamic relationship with the exterior.Stahlbau Pichler
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