Project DescriptionThe new headquarters of Zurich Italia is inserted in the masterplan for the former Carlo Erba areas, once used for industrial production substantially confined within the block, physically fenced off from the city and not traversable. The opportunity to open up this perimeter and to make the urban fabric flow into it has heavily conditioned every design choice: the entire settlement is conceived as permeable, an integral part of the park, the public interior of the area as a space not just of arrival but also of passage, where the communal public space hybridizes with the private. The base is designed as a piece of landscape, passing fluidly through the volume above, integrating the spaces to be used as an archive and the functions in closer contact with the street, in a complex system of routes leading to the large empty space at the center, a garden with tall trees overlooked by the inner courtyard.
A gigantic order of pillars supports directly the first floor slab, which is that of the raised plaza, a large terrace facing onto the garden and housing the company’s community functions. The volumes that house the offices are designed to optimize the proportion of space set aside for distribution in relation to the usable area. The highest block to the west faces onto the large scale of the park and is the main façade: a reception facility roofed with a geodetic structure concludes the volume like a lantern toward the center of the city, evoking the idea of an urban landmark and a place from which to observe. The building is a typological hybrid of a building with a base and a building on stilts, a layout that combines the incisiveness and contained volumes of ribbed blocks with the calm of the inner courtyard and the lightness of a raised and transparent object with the ruggedness of the large and suspended “natural” object.