Bolzano || Italy
Social professions are growing fast in modern society, so it is no surprise that the Hannah Arendt school in Bozen - a vocational institute for such professions - has seen enrolments skyrocket, resulting in a real need for more classroom and practical space.
The school sits in the city, between a park and a listed Capuchin monastery that, even though it is still used by the religious order, houses an overflow from the school. It was these elements that guided the design by Claudio Lucchin & Architetti Associati to find a solution that respects the binding visual and spatial relations. The school needed an additional 9 classrooms, 6 laboratories (for specialised practice, including an IT suite) and individual workstations. Given the need for such a significant extension, the architects chose to go underground to ensure the teaching
facilities would be big enough and of sufficient quality. As such, an area was earmarked between the historical building and the previous extension. Four underground floors were built, although only three are for the classrooms and labs, as the fourth one is smaller and accessible via an external staircase, making it suitable for the utilities and installations. The core of the extension is a large rectangular skylight located on the ground floor. It actually forms part of the normal floor, but provides light to the central, rectangular courtyard located on the third underground level, creating a place for students to rest and meet. The placement of the benches here spells LFS, which are the initials of Landesfachschule für Sozialberuf (i.e. vocational provincial school for social professions). Each level has four classrooms and
labs that overlook this underground courtyard (two each on the longer side of the courtyard rectangle). The use of full-height glazing maximises the natural light in the teaching areas. Further skylights and a skylight well provide natural light for the remaining rooms and the IT suite, the individual study areas and the small winter garden on the third below-ground level.
The extension has a sort of a double box-like envelope. The outer envelope is where the digging ended and has been shored up using micropiles that are right against the soil. Insulation, a coating sheath and spray coating offer a thick layer of protection against the outside (in this case the bottom of the dig), where the volume of the longitudinal beams is clear. The shape of the outer walls is irregular, non-linear, showing the roughness of “digging in progress”.
The inner envelope is made of concrete, metal sheets and glazed walls to define the teaching spaces and volumes. Walkways provide horizontal access, running longitudinally between the dig perimeter and the teaching area. Floor lights mark where to walk, reflecting the colour variations onto the irregular perimeter wall, alluding to the passing of time despite being underground. The pleasing, overall feel comes from a series of elements: the brightly coloured furniture and stairs, the large protruding writing (to indicate floors, levels and functions), visible materials (concrete panels, black metal sheets for the corridors), the integration of natural and artificial light and the sky visible through the skylights. The ultimate goal is to make this a high quality, liveable space, just as one would expect from an above-ground building.
Climate control is clearly fundamental in ensuring such quality: a forced ventilation system with adjustable settings; protection from dampness and radon; and climate control to prevent internal heat building up from the lighting and concentrations of people, especially during lessons.
This extension to the Hannah Arendt school is an extremely complex design, with notable technical solutions, architectural quality and spatial organisation to guarantee liveability and functionality. The result is an underground construction that, used on a daily basis, is comparable to a traditional above-ground building, using design features to overcome problem areas.
Client: Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano
Gross Floor Area: 3940 m2
Cost of Construction: 3.600.000 Euros
Architects: Claudio Lucchin & architetti associati
Works Management: Claudio Lucchin
Contractor: ZH General Construction Company
Structural: Herbert Mayer
Mechanical Plant: Marina Bolzan
Electrical Plant: Reinhard Thaler
Ready-Made Furniture: Objecta
Custom-Made Furniture: Fineline
Photography: 1/24 © Giacomo Flaim, 25/33 © Francesco Pagliari
Claudio Lucchin, Architect
Lucchin was born in 1959 in Bolzano, where he still lives today. He graduated with a first class degree from Venice University in 1984. After spending two years at different architecture practices, where he was involved in industrial and graphic design as well as the design of a number of theatre productions, in 1987 he opened his own office in Bolzano, focusing on architectural design and urban planning.
With others, he participates in various architectural competitions. Winning projects include a school complex in Brunico (1987), the renewal of Piazza del Magistrato in San Candido (1988), the renewal of the main town square in Postal (1988), the provincial government building in Piazza Stazione, Bolzano (1990), a school in Piedicastello a Trento (1993), the renewal of a pedestrian zone in Merano (1995), and the Syn-Com office and factory complex in Bressanone (2001). In 1991 Lucchin was the joint winner of the international competition for the design of the new Bolzano exhibition centre and the tender for the construction of an ice skating venue, also in Bolzano. In 1999, he won the competition for the refurbishment of the Don Bosco School, and, in 2004, the competition for a new waste-to-energy plant in Bolzano. In January 2008, with London firm Chapman & Taylor, he won the international competition for the construction of a new science and technology park in the industrial area of Bolzano.
From 2001 to 2006, he was involved in the design and construction of the ice skating venues for the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics in Turin (the first in Turin and the second in Torre Pellice). In 2001, he was commissioned to design an education centre in Modena. In 2004, he was jointly involved in the rebuilding of the Olympic ice centre in Cortina as well as the design of a new high school in Suzzara (Mantua) and the Bolzano government’s new waste-to-energy plant. In early 2006, he was hired by the City of Cremona to design a new multipurpose sports complex and, in 2008, a new high school in Modena and the underground extension of the school of social professions in Bolzano.
He has also designed a social housing complex in a semi-rural area of Bolzano, a home in San Genesio, the Galvani office and factory complex, and the extension of the school of social professions in a Capuchin monastery in Bolzano. In April 2004, he set up Claudio Lucchin & architetti associate with his closest colleagues, Angelo Rinaldo and Daniela Varnier. In April 2007, the practice was awarded EN ISO 9001:2000 quality certification.
Angelo Rinaldo, Architect
Rinaldo was born in Bolzano in 1959 and graduated from Venice University in 1986. He has been a member of the Bolzano Order of Architects since 1995. Since 1988, he has been Autocad consultant for Aldebra Spa, Bolzano. Between 1988 and 1989, he worked with the Eisenstecken architecture studio, between 1989 and 1990 with the Gennaro architecture studio, and between 1991 and 1994 with the architect Enrico Giovanardi, all in Bolzano. From 1995 to 2004, he worked freelance with a number major architecture practices, in particular in the area of working drawings. Since 1997, he has been IT consultant with the Bolzano Province Order of Architects. Since 1998 he has been a consultant for the humanization of hospitals, involved in the design and building of restructured maternity wards in a large number of hospitals throughout Italy, including Ospedale G. Gaslini in Genoa, Policlinico Gemelli in Rome and Ospedale Cannizzaro in Catania. In April 2004, he became a partner of Claudio Lucchin & architetti associati – Angelo Rinaldo Daniela Varnier. His work centres on IT management and working drawings.
Daniela Varnier, Architect
Varnier was born in Venice in 1964 and graduated in 1993 from Venice’s all’Istituto Universitario di Architettura. In 1994 and 1995, she worked in the architecture and urban design studio of Professor Giorgio Lombardi in Venice, where she mainly focused on urban design. In 1996, she moved to Bolzano and joined Claudio Lucchin’s architecture practice. In April 2004, she became a partner of Claudio Lucchin & architetti associati – Angelo Rinaldo Daniela Varnier. In cooperation with the firm, and later as a partner, she has been involved in the design of public and private projects. In 2006, she oversaw the application of requirements for UNI EN ISO 9001:2000 certification, which was awarded in April 2007. Her work with the practice also involves the design of custom- and ready-made furniture.