Designing the new Pizzigoni school complex has meant to think about a shared public space, which alternates open and closed spaces in a flexible and osmotic architecture.
Even before determining the peculiarities of the school building, the planning stage of the entire area focused the attention on the unambiguous needs suggested by the context to restore spatial continuity with the institutional buildings in the critical proximity. By shifting the parking area to another one right before arriving at the new building, it’s possible to give back a green and equipped pedestrian connection between the construction area and the rest of the educational complex, considered, actually, as a more extensive area. So the new school becomes the driving force for a different perception of the entire neighborhood. The building consists of a single body with a central courtyard. It applies a rotation to the grid of both the adjacent urban fabric and the lot itself, showing the correct orientation according to the solar cycle and constantly generating different, defined in themselves, and accessible spaces.
Internal and external rotations of the fundamental geometric figures, originating from the construction area, and parallelisms defined by the context, convert the connective spaces into new forms and therefore to new uses, allowing us to approach those as physical places and not as mere passages.
The flexibility between kindergartens, primary school, and library, within the territory have oriented the planning towards inclusive environments. It unfolds to both socialization and individuality, and it allows the didactic experience in different forms, which are strictly connected to the presence of the environment itself.
In this new pole, teaching spaces, gym, auditorium, library, and media library with their connected services, occupy areas that coexist organically, are easily compartmentalized and have separate entrances that are recognizable without breaking down the integrity of the whole building.
The laboratories, located on the ground floor, and the classrooms on the first floor, are characterized by walls equipped with the internal connective spaces used for free learning; they can also open up and come together in dual modules to host shared lessons, group work, and other cooperative learning activities.
The gym, accessible both from inside the school and from outside, sees its natural extension to the courtyard to provide indoor and outdoor sports activities simultaneously. The library, the media library, and the auditorium occupy the vertical section of the building, with their external access from the adjacent spaces always through a fluid connective area.
The outdoor spaces reflect the internal conception of mix, diversification, and freedom: education and entertainment are part of each other and translate into architecture as intertwined concepts and united spaces.
Natural materials and construction sustainability are wrapped in a perforated sheet metal skin that becomes a perimeter whenever it moves away from the architectural body. It is a shading surface with delicate colors and decisive details that become a device for regulating solar and thermal radiation. Furthermore, it covers the wall mass and dynamically transforms the facade surfaces through the projection of shadows that are always different depending on day time.
It also defines the open spaces and makes the intervention clear and readable according to synergistic mimesis in the territory.
The main goal of the technical choices is the high bioclimatic performance, intended to improve the internal comfort of the building through the application of the following precautions:
– A modular metal cage structure acts as a support for perimeter wall claddings that isolate the internal environments by the alternation of insulating layers in insufflated cellulose fiber and insulating in bio-soluble rock wool held together by a double surface in fir wood and externally concluded by reinforced plaster;
– Internal sound-absorbing flooring in vinyl structure with high resistance to the residual footprint allows a reduction of about 19 dB inside the rooms, which can also count on the presence of wood fiber panels, especially for large surfaces such as the canteen and the auditorium;
– A green cover that also performs an aesthetic function by restoring the green taken from the building grounds to a high altitude, but above all triggers a drainage process of the rainwater that is thus conveyed for re-use in maintaining the pertinent greenery.
There are two solar collection systems to crown the green roof: a photovoltaic system for direct energy needs to support, between the different uses, the hot/cold air conditioning system ducted to the false ceiling, and a solar thermal system for heating hot water health. These systems rely on centralizing the management of the electricity supply at the medium voltage substation with separate meters for the various stores and/or re-injection of photovoltaic electricity into the grid.
This proposal for Nuova Scuola Pizzigoni is proposed as an opportunity to confirm all those principles of good contemporary construction and as a meticulous attempt to conceive the space of learning for the youngest, giving them a complete and interconnected student district, a cultural island with a green heart.