Milan Polytechnic – New University Pole in Lecco
Milan Polytechnic – New University Pole in Lecco | Lecco | 2010-2014
period: 2010-2014 client: Colombo costruzioni S.p.a. focus: Milan Polytechnic – New University Pole in Lecco location: Lecco
The Open University
Introduction to the Facility
The Milan Polytechnic branch of Lecco, was founded in 1989 to meet the University’s willingness to be present and close to the production in the territories and to the request of the Lecco area, rich in factories and operation, of having a research center for a competitive development.
The new University Campus, one of the first italian examples with the Anglo-Saxon style, is proposed physically and ideologically as ‘Open University’.
Built on the site of the abandoned city hospital, in the south of the city of Lecco, the sense of continuity with the neighboring historic and urban center, led to the openness of the university space to many new forms of use and relationship. A system of open and closed areas, accessible to anyone, bring out a concept of urban continuity that goes beyond physical and dynamic aspects.
The initial vision of the project has been transformed into precise guidelines: the willingness to open up new places for the city, create organic fluidity, delete all sorts of barriers, both physical and mental, remove the borders. Crossed perpendicularly, the Campus connects two parallel streets shortening the distance between them: it becomes road, bridge, integrated part of the city.
This place, in the midst of the urban fabric, is carrier and producer of science, among the people that runs and looks at “polytechnic showcases”, dwelling in the wireless garden, connected with the world.
The Image of the Building
The image of the building is perceived for its qualities of lightness, transparency, luminosity, perspective permeability, but at the same time it silently stands out as a symbol of culture and innovative spirit.
The materials and colors used are drawn from the “chromatic-material palette” linked to the history of the place and their symbology: aluminum, steel, glass. The color, white-RAL 9016, white as drawing paper, colors the shell, representing the intellectual purity and chastity of the technical culture ready to burgeon.
Symbol of the absolute, from Malevich to Moby Dick, the white of the shell varies with the change of hours and seasons, turning the gentle surfaces etched in vigorous chiaroscuro that change the perceptual framework.
Technological and Energetic Efficiency
in addition to the strong visual impact, which combines a consistent association between new areas and the recovery of monumental spaces, the importance of the project lies in the technological efficiency and in the design choice which included the use of industrialized building and energy systems in accordance with the principles of eco-sustainability.
The new structure is entirely composed by a modular kit of durable concrete structural elements and high-performance light elements in aluminum, steel and glass for the shells, expressly made from specific design of Paolo Bodega Architettura.
Prefabricated concrete elements that compose the structural part of the building such as beams, pillars, slabs and shelves are covered by particular layers designed to meet the specific needs in terms of shell performance, such as exposure, insulation, and energy interception, made from transparent, opaque elements, filtering and photovoltaic brise-soleil, and dynamic wings that allow a better control of radiation.
The new building is energy class B; for the reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions into the atmosphere, the resources present ‘on site’ such as water, sun, and air have been used as “generators” of renewable energy.
Climatization is managed by a modular system of heat pumps that use groundwater. At the top of the facades are placed photovoltaic panels producing 20 kW of electricity, solar thermal collectors for hot water production and an “S-shaped” vertical wind-rotor.
All building materials and finishing used were chosen with accuracy under their own characteristics in terms of eco-friendliness, recyclability and lifecycle (LCA).
Tutti i materiali da costruzione, e di finitura utilizzati sono stati scelti con accuratezza in virtù delle proprie caratteristiche di ecologicità, riciclabilità e del ciclo divita (LCA).
The Functional Building Units
The project of the new University, drafted on the basis of preliminary works prepared by the Polytechnic of Milan and specifically sized for a population of 2,000 students, is essentially made up of the construction of one new building, NFU 1 (New Functional Unit 1, which contains classrooms and laboratories) and the recovery of existing buildings, identified as Body RFU 1 (Recovery Functional Unit 1, where the Pro-Rector’s office building is situated) and RFU 2 (Recovery Functional Unit 2, with its comb shape typical of the hospitals of late 1800, which houses offices and departments).
Upon completion of the structure has been added a new building space located within a courtyard of comb-building, used as reading room and classrooms.
Moreover, the renovation of the old hospital pavilion “Adolf Loos”, which will be used as a student residence, has just been completed.
New Functional Unit 1 – Classrooms and Laboratories
The NFU 1 building, which houses classrooms and laboratories, is divided into two organism-building, the first, building A, link between Previati and Ghislanzoni streets, is articulated in two floors above ground and a basement floor for parking; the second, branch B, parallel to Previati street is structured on four levels.
The two units together, intended for teaching activities, workshops and teaching services, follow an L shape. The setting of altimetric levels took into account the existing RFU2 building, at the ground level, allowing the connection with the rest.
The newborn structure, to which buildings together gave shape, led to the composition of a square/path, which reflects the designer’s desire to encourage the interchange and permeability between the university and the city.
Fronts exposed to South-West (building B) and Southeast (building A), facades are provided with shading systems for controlling sunlight during summer, and glare in winter, supplemented with eyelid elements with an in-classroom natural-light-scattering system.
These components, which do not prevent the outward Visual enjoyment, have a value not only in terms of performance, but also architectonically: an array of design that takes into account also management and maintenance aspects.
Recovery Functional Unit 1 – Pro-Rector’s Offices
Conservative renovation works have been carried out and restoration of the exterior and interior spaces, with plant adjustments and in function of the accessibility for people with disability.
Recovery Functional Unit 2 – Administration and Departments
The comb-body, subject to indirect constraint of the Superintendence, has been preserved from the morphological point of view as significant mark on the territory and memory of the particular hospital architecture of the late 1800.
Cleaned up from additions and recovered in its outer parts with functional additions, the building houses technological environments and stores in the basement, while administrative, departmental, and teaching service offices are placed in the two floors above ground.
The monumental staircase, under direct constraint of Superintendence, placed between the main body of the former Hospital and the first Pavilion of the “comb”, has undergone conservative restoration.
At the two Northwest-facing heads have been realized two glass facades that clearly betray the contemporaneity of the intervention compared to the former part, while the recovery in the remaining parts of the building has maintained, as far as possible, the restoration of the original openings and facades finishing.
In order to keep the conservative prerogatives of the facades on one hand, and increase energy efficiency on the other, a very low-thickness shell composed of plaster-fiber plates and multi-reflecting insulator was positioned inside them.
The existing underground were recovered and expanded as spaces mainly destined to technological rooms.