The overall plan arises from a study of man’s interaction with nature. The principles of resilience, adaptability, integration, sharing and evolution are the tools used to respond to new scenic possibilities, and each becomes a nodal point in the planning strategy. Already intensely inhabited by humans, the location becomes a place endowed with resilience, a capacity for renewal: the streets, parking zones and built areas become useful spaces to be used in the process of regeneration. The clearing between trees, conversely, is a place for adaptation, in which human action is mitigated in favour of a harmonious coexistence between man and nature. The equilibrium between spaces taken from nature and the reuse of previously urbanised areas gives a positive balance in favour of nature itself, with the green corridors of patios ensuring continuity between parks. In this way, the principle of integration becomes one with the constructed system, and the buildings, like stick insects (or Phasmatodea) are camouflaged, taking on the connotations of the surrounding space. The resulting shape, outlined among the vegetation, leaves empty spaces which become places of sharing, not only between different users, but also between users and nature. The system designed in this way has the capacity to evolve according to potential scenarios: if the population increases, some of the parking areas can be turned into accommodation, with the consequent increase in sustainable mobility. On the other hand, if the population falls, the system can respond with a reduction in the built volumes, devoting more space to the surrounding nature. In this overall vision, the campus building and residences begin at the piazza and move along what is now the road, surrounded by parkland, before heading into the woods. This gives the impression that the built area is hidden among the trees, colonising a space which in fact is already urbanised. Furthermore, the complex multi-sided building is raised above ground-level, not merely to keep the ground clear, but also to better interact with the pedestrian routes and cycleways.
The distribution of the building’s functions also seeks to adopt a strategy that can ensure flexibility of use and adaptability. Access to the main university departments is on the south side: laboratories, administration offices and lecture halls use sculpted forms to outline a new square, in close harmony and interaction with a building designed by Alvar Aalto. Dominating this ordered geometry is the building which houses the bar, accessed from Otakaari via a kind of bridge leading to the residential block. Additional entrances are located in the patios, the empty spaces of human-nature connection, accessed on foot or via the cycle path which is completely integral to the system. The entire ground floor of the “stick building” is occupied by amenities (shops, mini supermarket, gym, sauna, multimedia hall, music rooms), while the upper floors house the accommodation, arranged around shared spaces directly linked to the patios.
The use of materials also respects the language of Aalto, reinterpreting the dialogue between the brick walls and oxidised copper surfaces that clad the belly of the building and contrast with the green of the outside space.
Lead architect: Giovanna Marchei
Design Team: Dunamis Architettura (Stefano Balassone, Lorenzo Cantalini, Giovanna Marchei, Roberta Pezzuti), Mauro Mauriello
With the collaboration of: Olimpia Castellano, Nicoletta Colagrande, Chiara Colapietro