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Technology hub NOI Techpark Bozen

What a nice story

Claudio Lucchin & architetti associati

Technology hub NOI Techpark Bozen
By Luca Maria Francesco Fabris -
Secco Sistemi, LignoAlp, Schüco, Zumtobel Group have participated in the project

Sometimes History with a capital “H” has the last word. So, on occasion, does architecture when a place designed for a particular role is turned into something else, undergoing not only physical transformation but also mutating significance, becoming a harbinger of a new and unexpected future. During the fascist regime in Italy, the southern outskirts of the north eastern city of Bolzano was earmarked as an industrial metal-producing hub. It was a way of asserting the dictatorship’s hold in a region that had only recently become Italian, and of underlining confidence in mechanical technology in a still prevalently rural area. So, in 1937, the Montecatini Group’s Alumix plant was opened to produce aluminum; a modern industrial complex, its architecture a blend of Italian Rationalism and the sleek rigueur of the German Bauhaus. With the disbanding of the Montecatini Group in the 1980s, the decommissioned factory became a cumbersome eyesore within the urban fabric, both for its size - some 12 hectares - and for its historically loaded past. But thanks to the farsightedness of the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, the whole area - since 2004 listed as an industrial archaeological heritage site - was purchased by the local authorities, and subsequently redeveloped by its wholly owned BLS Business Location as the Province’s new technological pole. Today, the area hosts Bolzano’s Free University and various research centers formerly scattered around the province. Last October, ten years after the ideas competition to redesign the area, followed by land reclamation and remediation, the design phase (2008-12) and then construction, the first part of the NOI (Nature of Innovation) Techpark by Bolzano practice Claudio Lucchin & Architetti Associati in partnership with Chapman Taylor Italia was inaugurated. The acronym NOI - a word meaning “we” or “us” in Italian, but which also sounds like the German...

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