With its rigorous geometric façades, the new Campus Milano Internazionale’s monolithic steel and glass tower fits harmoniously into the urban context of the Bicocca university district designed by architect Vittorio Gregotti. Located in the area that stands in front of the Arcimboldi Theater, the student halls of residence opened their doors in September 2019. Promoted by Redo Sgr, the building was designed by GaS Studio, a design firm founded over 20 years ago by Jim Goring and André Straja, with offices in Milan, Rome and Berkeley, California.
The 10,000 sq. m building offers 450 beds in a functional blend of apartments and rooms. The tower rises 16 floors above ground and has two basement levels. All accommodation is located between the first and the 15th levels. The ground floor and first level basement are earmarked for collective spaces, such as kitchens, a canteen, study rooms, a bar and even a music room. The second basement level is reserved for technical rooms. Some of the upper levels feature panoramic lounges; the 15th floor houses a gym with views out over the Milan skyline.
The bright, spacious interiors benefit from minimalist yet comfortable furniture solutions. From a chromatic point of view, white and shades of gray dominate. Paired with light-hued wood, these neutral tones are enlivened by vivid splashes of color, such as orange on the walls of the fitness area.
The real star of the design is the building’s metallic load-bearing structure, consisting of 550 tons of steel columns and beams. The slim-type floors and ceilings benefit from a reduced thickness of 21 cm, of which 16 cm is a honeycomb, and the remaining 5 cm supplementary casting. Alongside white metal cladding, transparent glass surfaces alternate on the elevations in four different colors. A cadenced rhythm of full and empty spaces correlates the succession of glazed and opaque façades on the building’s exterior with its internal functions and spaces. The smaller glazed elements correspond with rooms and accommodation; the larger glazed walls pick out the common areas on the various floors. The private/collective spatial hierarchy is reprised through the use of macro-rows and double-height features within the interior. The ground floor is wholly glazed to foster dialogue with the surrounding context, involving passers-by with life inside the building.
Dictated by urban planning requirements, the building’s orientation provided an opportunity to study focal points. The main façades consequently offer extended views along a green east-west axis, towards the Parco Nord and Parco Lambro, while the south façade provides views towards downtown Milan. The new university residence design squarely focuses on natural lighting. Characterized by a giant order, the façade features splayed windows that ensure the flow of sunlight into the building. A shallow, elongated patio helps channel natural light into the common rooms located on the first basement level. A paved garden with planted walls rounds off the design framework for this urban space dedicated to young people.
Location: Milan, Italy
Client: Redo Sgr
Gross Floor Area: 10,075 m2
Architect and Interior Designer: GaS Studio
Main Contractor: Pichler Projects
Temporary Joint Venture: GaS Studio, Ebner, D&D, Arching, Locigno, Arch’in
Unless otherwise indicated, photography by Saverio Lombardi Vallauri, courtesy of GaS Studio
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