H-Campus is an ambitious project: a higher education campus in the Treviso countryside, a unique and international location, with Venice airport less than 15 km away and the proximity of the cities of Treviso (20 km) and Padua, less than an hour's drive away.
In February 2016 H-FARM initiated a procedure pursuant to art. 32 LR 35/2001 which was later taken up by investors and Finint SGR. It led to the establishment in November 2017 of the "Ca' Tron H-Campus" real estate fund. This challenge envisaged the construction of a European training and innovation hub aimed at students, professionals, businesses and start-ups, destined to become a talent pool for the economic and cultural development of the country; it consists of a set of buildings with a built surface area of approximately 42,000 sqm immersed in over 40 hectares of parkland.
The project continues on from the existing structures (first and foremost the nearby headquarters of H-Farm, manager of the Campus), with "zero volume", i.e. without the need for new building capacity: all the structures derive from the recovery of building credits already allocated in the area, or from the demolition of buildings of no historical or architectural significance (including some military buildings).
The administrative process was also complex and challenging: the project was implemented through a Programme Agreement and an EIA procedure that involved: two municipalities, the provinces of Treviso and Venice, various authorities and the Veneto Region, a subsequent urban planning variant, the design and construction of urbanisation works inside and outside the project area, and the construction of a new public road (2.5 km) connecting the campus to S.S. 14 state road to the east and the existing Via Nuova to the west, as well as the restoration and implementation of existing roads.
The master plan consists of eight buildings plus some service volumes, accessible by a double-loop internal circulation system, mainly pedestrian or at reduced speed.
Access to the campus is through the reception area (F) located just beyond the newly restored Via Annia, part of the local archaeological heritage.
To the north, the three school buildings are arranged in chronological order: the primary school (A), the secondary education block (B) and the university (C).
From the western boundary to the east, there is a complex of administrative buildings (D), separated by a green area, the student residence (E), which can accommodate up to 250 beds, and a greenhouse building that houses dining services and a communal laundry; a little further on, the loop closes with indoor and outdoor sports facilities (H). At the centre of this loop is a multifunctional building (G), a venue for collective activities such as conferences, library, dining and leisure.
The buildings are characterised by a simple and clear plan, with a maximum of two storeys above ground, respecting the contours of the landscape so as not to prevent views of the countryside. Architecture and landscape are perfectly integrated: the layout maintains portions of land for agricultural use, guarantees and implements native biodiversity, and includes large grass areas with wooded patches which in some cases penetrate the built-up area.
The project has scrupulously addressed the flooding risk, given its proximity to the River Sile and its potential combined action with the more distant River Piave. In order to guarantee the hydraulic invariance of the area, volumes of reservoirs and lamination basins have been built within the areas, in order to receive a large volume of water and contain extreme weather events, promoting local infiltration into the water table and thus slowing down the flow of water towards the river Sile.
The project was designed according to the LEED protocol with the objective of LEED GOLD certification. Taking into account the availability of sunlight and virtually always flat roofs, large solar panels were built to meet almost all the energy needs of the campus, which uses electricity as its sole power source. Along the central pathway surrounding building G, a geothermal exchange loop serves as a general collector for the entire complex.
All the buildings have been constructed using materials and finishes with a low environmental impact, favouring recyclable and locally sourced elements and energy-saving chromatic and technological solutions that are repeated in each building to create a coherent overall image. Attention to wellbeing (in terms of temperature and humidity, acoustics, lighting, and appearance) has led to the definition of systems and spaces that respond effectively to the needs of users as external conditions and activities change (BMS for managing systems and consumption, solartubes and automatic external curtains, integrated ceiling heating to ensure comfort, automatic timed flow systems to rationalise water consumption).
Careful study of the landscaping and its integration with and into the building has facilitated the pursuit of sustainability goals (energy consumption, indoor and outdoor comfort) which would otherwise be unattainable. The choice of native vegetation reduces the need for water to maintain the greenery, with obvious advantages in terms of both management and operation. The woodland planting helps absorb pollutants and has a positive effect on the local microclimate, thanks to the increased shade that generates a reduction in the heat island effect.
The glazed facades allow natural light (suitably integrated with artificial lighting systems) to enter the occupied spaces, and create a visual and physical continuity between the external and internal environments.
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