Exa Engineering - Levanto Primary School, a sustainable and hypogeous building
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Levanto Primary School, a sustainable and hypogeous building

Exa Engineering

Education  /  Future
Exa Engineering

Levanto is a town that develops along an inlet overlooking the sea, continuing along the coast the towns of the more famous and touristy Cinque Terre. Characteristic of these towns is their development towards the green hills, covered with pine trees, vines and olive trees. In this context, we find the main school center of the town formed by high school, middle school and the gymnasium dedicated to it.

In response to the school request for a new preschool center and inspired by the forms of the area, the new building was born. The design intent is to evoke an architecture that was born from the meadow, protected by the green mantle that covers it. Integrated with areas of non-trauma paving to allow safe use by children.

Architecturally, the new building is identified as a single hypogeous single-story volume developed in length, which, through the roof that extends to the ground thanks to the inclined ramps, manages to propose a solution of continuity with the environment, that is, the creation of a path equipped and usable by the users not only of the kindergarten but of the entire school complex.

Geometrically, the building is developed on a single floor with an irregular plan. The irregularity in form, which was intentional, was created by the subtraction of volumetric portions at each schoolroom: this made it possible to establish a much more immediate direct relationship between indoors and outdoors, providing each classroom with an overlook to the outdoor space to encourage outdoor activities.

Particular emphasis was placed on meeting environmental goals such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable use and protection of water, transition to a circular economy, pollution prevention and reduction, and protection and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystems. In fact, the building's performance and planned facilities enable the new building to achieve near-zero-energy building (NZEB) standards.

The design solutions adopted have made it possible to minimize the visual impact that a new building would have created in an environment already largely occupied by the buildings of the existing school complex: the choice of creating the green roof covering in fact allows the creation of a visual effect of continuity (even with the hillside context), thanks precisely to the elements connecting the roof and the ground level. The surface will be exploited to the maximum by creating areas for recreation and relaxation, but without negatively affecting the aesthetic vision of the area. The building offers 5 pedagogical units (classrooms) connected to each other thanks to the presence of several common spaces: the spaces for free activities, the canteen and the services. Each section has a gross floor area ranging from about 50 m2 to 65 m2 depending on the number of pupils present. Each section is divided into two particular pedagogical areas: there are, in fact, areas used for desk activities and areas used for special activities, in which each of the children will be able to acquire practical and useful concepts by passing through direct experimentation, group work and collaboration. Each section has a dedicated toilet room. In continuity with the interiors, each classroom also has a portion of coplanar outdoor area available for moving educational activities outside.

The intervention for the new kindergarten school, located in Via Martiri della Libertà in the locality of Levanto in La Spezia (SP), is necessary because of the critical hydraulic problems found in the area of the current kindergarten site, which is prone to flooding. Therefore, the administration deemed it appropriate to build a new school that is safer, sustainable, technologically advanced and in line with new pedagogical criteria.


 Comune di Levanto
 Scuola dell'infanzia
 2000 mq
  1,850,000.00 €
 Sabatino Tonacci, Paolo Biggeri, Riccardo Cecchini, Eugenio Pulsinelli
 Nicola Bonfigli, Elia Belli, Sara Gariglio, Federico Micheli, Daniela Aranzulla
 Archeologia: Alessandro Parodi; Geologia: Daniela Raggi; Impianti: Mario Del Santo


Exa engineering srl was founded in La Spezia as an engineering company in 1998 after a common path of its founding partners, Eng. Sabatino Tonacci and Geom. Paolo Biggeri, first within a company, then as freelancers in an associated firm.
Exa's main value lies in presenting itself as a company capable of solving the problems of a varied clientele thanks to the consolidated experience of the partners as well as the different training courses and complementary tasks of its internal collaborators.
Method professionalism and passion impose on the group the same care for each project, from the smallest to the largest.



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