Buttrio || Italy
Buttrio is a small town in the countryside near the Italian city of Udine. Standing on the banks of the River Torre, it is surrounded by fields and poplar groves. Much of the small town’s land area is occupied by multinational company Danieli & C. Officine Meccaniche, which has its plant and main offices there.
Over the years, the company has been keen to extend its local and economic impact to the educational sphere by offering high-standard facilities to its employees and the people of Buttrio. Building a nursery was the first step in a company welfare plan that is set to extend to a whole series of future works, regenerating the working environment and raising the standards of the amenities on offer.
The architects, Marco Zito + MADE associati, designed phase one of the educational program expansion plan, which adds a new building for the primary and infants’ school to the existing nursery. This building was conceived as the first of a further two future constructions to house a gym/swimming pool, and high schools. The planned development is sited on a flat lot between a residential area of small family houses and the poplar groves that bound the stream and separate the area from the production site. Set at an angle to the lines of surrounding buildings and the rows of poplar trees, as an element the new building’s façade was designed to foster dialogue between the teaching spaces and the landscape, the interior and the exterior, and between the man-made and the natural.
As in the children’s game where kids cut out a row of identical shapes in paper, in simplified form the façade mimics the silhouette of the surrounding trees. The arcade surrounding and characterizing the entire building employs tree-shaped pillars as structural elements. An east-facing C-shape with porous and transparent sides that open onto the surrounding green space, the new building offers a privileged viewpoint, while at the same time forming an integral part of this green space, its façade following the natural forms. The indoors/outdoors relationship was conceived as a foundational element of the design: every classroom is located not just to have its own external views, but also the option of going outside for teaching activities in the gardens.
The semi-open patio at the heart of the building serves as an open/closed agora, around which the school’s classrooms and collective spaces are distributed to ensure an unbroken, flexible relationship with the natural outdoor space. The teaching space continues outdoors through a variety of solutions that allow children to establish an ever-changing relationship with nature.
The portico along the classrooms offers an option for outdoor play sheltered from inclement weather; bounded by formal hedges, each room has its own small vegetable patch; a slight rise forms a natural amphitheater for play; and the thick hedgerows lining the road are a concentration of plant species indigenous to the area. Close to nature and to production, they help to learn more about links with the local area.
Location: Buttrio, Udine province
Completion Date: 2019
Architects: Marco Zito + MADE associati
Client: Scuole e Asili Cecilia Danieli
Construction Management (architecture): Adriano Marangon (MADE associati)
Construction Management (structures): Modolo Renato
Project Manager: Franco Simone (Danieli & C.)
Contractor: F&B Compagnia Costruzioni Immobiliari
Structural: D.F.G. Ingegneria
Services Engineering: T.F.E. Ingegneria
Safety Coordinator: Marco Cecchin
Windows and Façade Frames: Metra
Curtains: Dalex Components & Service, Mottura
XLAM Panels: Segheria f.lli De Infanti
Roof Waterproofing: Flag
False Ceilings: Celenit
Furniture: Alma Faber
Wood Flooring: Princic
Linoleum Flooring: Forbo
Fire Doors: Ninz
False Ceilings: Fantoni Group
Photography: © Adriano Marangon (MADE associati), courtesy of MADE associati
Michela De Poli and Adriano Marangon work in architecture and landscaping at a multitude of scales. They specialize in the controlled conversion, design and construction of public and private buildings, schools, residences, public spaces, parks and gardens, as well as working on town plans and masterplans on a contract basis in order to redesign and safeguard how sensitive areas evolve. Recently, the Practice was selected for the EU MIES AWARD 2017 (the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture), and for the Arcipelago Italia Pavilion at the XVI Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition in 2018. In 2017, the Practice won an Honorable Mention in the Veneto section of the “Barbara Cappochin” International Architecture Prize.
Marco Zito is an Associate Professor of Industrial Product Design at the Università IUAV of Venice. After graduating with Vittorio Gregotti and Bernardo Secchi, he became an architect working on design at multiple scales. Zito’s design research spans a variety of issues, dimensions, technologies and product types, from his Olivetti experience to interface design, consulting to long-term partnerships with companies like Agape, Viabizzuno, Saaviati and the Danieli Group, for whom he has designed machine tools, interfaces and buildings for manufacture and display. His designs have won international awards and acknowledgments. Venice, where the practice is located, is an endless source of inspiration for projects, whether it be a small glass vase or large-sized architecture.