Nuova Sede Lega Italiana Lotta ai Tumori (LILT) - OTTAVIO DI BLASI & Partners
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New premises of the Italian Cancer League

OTTAVIO DI BLASI & Partners

Edited By Francesco Pagliari - 16 May 2017

The new provincial centre for the Italian Cancer League in Biella is both symbolically and socially important in the fight against this disease and in supporting patients, through prevention and care. It is also a place for medical consultation and psychological support, along with offering physical rehab facilities. The design is an extremely accessible, open space, built for convenience and efficiency, including in energy use (with insulation and cutting-edge technical equipment). It is also a place with a clear architectural identity, a centre that offers people and associations spaces for meeting and working. 
The design meets these multiple needs. The building has a powerful visual impact, with a structure that is clearly recognisable to create an evident geographical and social reference point for the area. 
The complex consists of two main volumes connected by a short structure with glazed walls that overlooks, to the north and south, the lawns around the complex. This glazed connecting section is the entrance hall and lobby providing access to the different parts of the centre. The upper floor of this section also has a common area to enjoy a break. The centrality ensures it is easily accessible from most parts of the complex. The flooring on the ground floor further enhances this sense of centrality as the stone tiles are laid in concentric circles, radiating out from the central lobby towards the wings, with the two colours used for the tiles creating a powerful, dynamic pattern. 
The functional division of space in the two sections is evident, with areas dedicated to prevention (ground floor of the west-facing building), areas for administrative and communication activities (east-facing volume), with variously-sized meeting rooms, a section for physical rehab and the security guard's quarters (in the western building). 
The distinctive nature of the complex comes from, to differing degrees, the uses of a series of elements, especially the curved shape of the main volumes that suggest a new approach between indoor areas and the related spaces outside. The layout, both functional and formal, also plays a role in making the complex easily identifiable. Screening for the external longitudinal walls of both volumes is another key element, used on both volumes, facing east and west.  The choice of red and white picks up the traditional colours of the Italian Cancer League, while also providing the necessary protection from the sun and the required privacy. Consequently, the weave of cotto tiles becomes more or less intense, depending on how much privacy is required. The differentiated "density" of the screening on the walls, the contrasting colours, and the shiny enamelled cotto, which shines in the light, clearly show the dynamism of this new centre. It becomes the positive, emotional symbol for a place that sets itself high social standards, focusing prevention, care and patient support, offering them a place where hope and comfort truly belong. 
Francesco Pagliari