Office blocks, complexes, conference centres and other such venues
Inside the original Alfa Romeo industrial complex there was a test track for cars that was abandoned in 2002 following the closure of the company. With the redevelopment of the Arese area, the old track has also been restored and converted into a 1,600-meter circuit, used to present cars and organize safe driving courses.
As part of the new program the aMDL studio, under the guidance of Michele De Lucchi, designed the management and training centre of the track. The multi-purpose complex is made up of two buildings with an irregular plan and a rounded plan form. The shape evokes that of the river pebbles and the centre has been called "I Sassi".
Both buildings are on three levels. The smallest, located to the north, is dedicated to the ‘Centro Guida Sicura’ and houses the headquarters and offices of ACI Vallelunga on the ground floor, while on the first floor there are four classrooms with mobile division walls. The other larger building has a museum and exhibition area: two levels are open spaces dedicated to the holding of exhibitions and events related to the world of cars. On the third level of both buildings there are panoramic terraces used for events and can be reached by a freight elevator suitable for large-sized cars.
The two blocks are constructed from a central prefabricated reinforced concrete core and a laminated wood perimeter façade structure. This structure continues above the lower levels with wooden arches that form a portico surrounding the panoramic terraces. A continuous glass and aluminium façade closes the ground floor levels. The upper portion, on the other hand, is characterized by an iconic design that alternates transparent double glazed window frames and opaque aluminium panels. This chequered patterned "skin" is reminiscent of the "racing flags" that are waved during car races to signal the end of competitions, but it is a solid and stable flag because it also wants to promote the idea of road safety and not only represent the idea of speed. This façade system rises up to the roof where it becomes a parapet for the terrace. The two buildings, arranged as a fan around a square of about 2,000 square meters, are connected by a first floor level bridge. On the ground floor, the decks create a corridor that marks the passage between the car track and the square. Paved in Luserna stone, the square is destined to host events, exhibitions and welcome visitors; to the north-east it overlooks the "Centro" redevelopment and re-landscaped Lura river.
Gross Floor Area (mq)5.800
ArchitectsMichele De Lucchi
Design teamAngelo Micheli (project director), Alessandra De Leonardis, Silvia Figini, Alessandro Ghiringhelli
Main ContractorPrefabbricati Camuna S.r.l.
ConsultantsSviluppo Arese S.r.l. (general managment); Prefabbricati Camuna S.p.A. (building contractor); Wood Beton S.p.A. (wooden structures); Land S.r.l, Verde Rappo S.p.a.(green design); Suardi S.p.a. (external works and racetrack design)
Photo CreditsTom Vack
Michele De Lucchi was a prominent figure in movements like Alchimia and Memphis. He has designed lamps and furniture for the most known Italian and European companies. For Olivetti he has been Director of Design from 1988 to 2002 and he elaborated various theories on the evolution of the workplace. He designed and restored buildings in Italy and worldwide. For banks he has collaborated to the evolution of the corporate image. He has taken care of numerous exhibitions and has planned buildings for museums. In 2000 he was appointed Officer of Italian Republic by President Ciampi, for services to design and architecture. In 2001 he has been nominated Professor at the IUAV in Venice. In 2006 he received the Honorary Doctorate from Kingston University, for his contribution to “living quality”. In 2008 he has been nominated Professor at the Design Faculty of the Politecnico of Milan and Member of the Accademia Nazionale di San Luca in Rome. During 2018, He is editor in chief of the Domus.