Working on a project, a new building in a public space, means first of all studying with great care, even prior to finding possible architectural solutions, the relation that the building will have with the urban surrounding and the natural environment it will be integrated in. Working on a project for the Department of Viticulture, Enology and Green Biotechnology in San Michele implied, first of all, examining the context. Site inspections, drawings, study models and simulations of specific environmental impact have led to the definition of a volumetric model and to the belief that the project we studied would be the best possible in terms of quality and "discretion" in the relationship with the natural environment in which it was going to be built. The new building had to be integrated into the urban context and had to maintain the picturesque view of the slopes surrounding it.
The idea of a facade intended as a succession of five elements jutting out from the main building, to avoid a single front of almost 90 meters, was an additional element to a good relationship with the site.
So we designed a wooden building: a steel and concrete structure, covered with panels made of wood and glass, using traditional, natural material.
The new Palazzo for Research and Knowledge in San Michele, is on four floors plus a basement, a total area of 7,700 square meters, to meet the needs of the Edmund Much Foundation. Three floors resting on a local stone base and a copper roof "hiding" the last floor of the building form the architecture of the new construction. A building that we like to describe as light and suggestive for the transparency of its large windows and a careful use of local wood. A "traditionally innovative" building.
A wood and steel "bridge" connects the building to the pedestrian path. The large triple-height lobby invites students, teachers and researchers inside the building and offers a glance of the surrounding mountains and vineyards. A full height glass and steel staircase, distributes and connects all floors through to a central nave. Corridors looking onto this interior space lead to offices, research laboratories and classrooms.The building will host about 500 people, including Italian and foreign students, teaching staff and researchers.The Edmund Mach Foundation promotes and carries out research, scientific experiments, classes and training activities while paying attention to the environment and protecting the territory. Since 2008 the Edmund Mach Foundation has continued to pursue the objectives and activities of Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige, founded in 1874.