Commissioned by the City of Cassano, the Center for Music at Cassano d’Adda expresses an idea of architecture as a way of creating a place of exalted functions and public significance. The building looks out onto a broad space, facing a piazza of impressive urban value; it is symbolically mirrored by the virtual volume that the rows of trees enclosing the piazza create along the roadway at the piazza’s southern edge. This “home for music” was designed to appeal to a very broad user base, an urban center blessed with a number of appealing sites (the magnificent Villa Borromeo, long since swallowed up by the urban fabric; an outlook over the River Adda, in a picturesque position and, nearby, a series of historical sites that run along the course of the river), Cassano d’Adda is a hub for the highly-populated area that extends between Milan and Treviglio/Bergamo. The project applies rigor and compositional elegance to a multi-function building conceived to foster the artistic and educational expression of music. It pursues the goal of creating a broad-spectrum gathering place, consisting of an Auditorium, internal rooms for events and expression-related activities, classrooms specifically designed for teaching, and commercial and refreshments spaces open to the public, independent of the building’s entertainment and teaching functions. The urban piazza, which may also be used for outdoor events, follows the slight slope leading up to the Music Center’s main entrance along its southern façade. The designers chose a regular volume building, a parallelepiped offering three floors above ground plus a basement. The elevations offer broad curtain wall surfaces with minimal openings. Through this clear geometrical arrangement, the architectural approach is evinced in subtle and elegant cues, setting off delicate chiaroscuro accents on the curtain walls through variations in plaster granulation size. The southern elevation ensures that the main part of the building stands out from the scenic Auditorium tower through a separation created by a break in the volume; a long glazed area on the ground floor, featuring a wide canopy with oblique, perpendicular steel uprights, characterizes the elevation, arrowing in to the main entrance. Thanks to its position in line with the foyer, which is the building’s focal point, this achieves the end-purpose of providing a direct visual connection and accessibility between the Music Center’s interior spaces and the external piazza space, highlighting its interconnective value. The foyer is the hub of the building: it is accessible and usable as an internal piazza, in counterpoint to the piazza outside. The space extends vertically to create a hollow area that cadences the building’s interior, running full height (11.30 m) through the various floors to provide insight into the building’s internal arrangement of walkways, circulation routes and the Auditorium’s evident bulk. To fulfil its reception function, the space boasts a long information desk, which also separates and create unity with the overhanging, profiled volume of the 300-seater Auditorium to the east, the volume containing commercial space (including a refreshment area and office space) to the west, as well as a stepped zone with seating that connects the lower level of the foyer, onto which the cafeteria and commercial space open, carving out a secluded zone for hosting events and musical performances. The Center’s basement houses general facilities (bathrooms for public visitors, storage space and utility rooms). Located on the upper level, the music school is an arrangement of five perimeter patios that open out externally, around a central patio off which the eight classrooms radiate, plus a larger off-plan central space for supporting educational amenities. The architectural design prioritizes connections between the various spaces, triggering potential partnerships between its functional characteristics by extension: the foyer is not just an official reception space, it forms the very core of the building; the commercial and refreshments area may be integrated into the building’s functional program, while the Auditorium itself presents a panoply of use options. The refinement of the architecture’s configuration is also evident through its meticulous use of material and color-based accents (the steps on the stairways, the lower-level flight of steps, and the internal cladding in perforated sheeting and paneling).
Location: Cassano d’Adda (Milano)
Client: Comune di Cassano d’Adda
Gross Floor Area: 2,443 m2
Architects: Dap Studio - Elena Sacco, Paolo Danelli
Structural: Giovanbattista Scolari
Technical Systems: Ebner Engineering
Concrete Works: Consorzio Litta
Custom Furniture: BD Italia
False Ceilings: Knauf, Barrisol
Floorings: Forbo, Artigo Square
Photography: © Filippo Romano, courtesy Dap Studio
DAP studio is an architectural practice based in Milan from 1992, is hold by Elena Sacco and Paolo Danelli, both graduated at the faculty of Architecture-Politecnico in Milan.
The office works for private customers as well as for public bodies and takes part to competitions.
Researches and activities are carried out at different scales thanks to a multidisciplinary and flexible team structure, able to adapt to the multiple aspects of each project. The work carried out by the studio has so far faced many different aspects of architecture and urbanism: town planning, residential housing, office buildings, leisure and entertainment, landscape architecture...
Our approach to design is based on a constant analysis and control of the relations set by the project and its program. Architecture manifests itself through a continuous process of sperimentation and discovery.
DAP studio places the architectural planning and the development of plans and cultural systems side by side.
Thanks to the synergy with this particular planning sphere, the studio can develop very detailed feasibility studies and preliminary programs for the architectural planning and the masterplan definition.