area 100 | changing cities

architect: Grafton Architects

location: Milan, Italy

year: 20022008

We saw this brief as an opportunity for the Luigi Bocconi University to make a space at the scale of the city. To this end we have built at the scale of the site, 50 m x150 m. Inside, our building is thought of as a large market hall, directly influenced by Il Broletto.
As with Il Broletto, this hall acts as a filter between the city and the university. The northern edge of the site fronts onto the artery of Viale Bligny, with the clatter of trams, the rush of busses, general traffic, people passing. It addresses the throbbing urban life of Milan, weaves into the mesh of the city. This frontage becomes the architectural opportunity to have a ‘window’ to Milan, a memorable image to confirm the important cultural contribution that the Bocconi University plays in the life of this city. For this reason, the public space of the aula magna occupies this frontage, asserting a symbolic presence and a register of the prestigious status of the University. This building is set back from the Viale Bligny & Via Rontgen edges to make a public space 18 m x 90 m inspired by the space forward of Hospital Maggiore. It’s much larger frontage, of approximately 200m , creates a vibrant socially active edge to a building which inside is a maze of secret cloistered courtyards and walkways. The widened pavement and new urban space acts as bridge, the ‘Social Lebensraum’ and keeps the city at a respectful distance. This new deep ‘finger’ of space reaches out to the city and beckons the visitor into the heart of the interior. This public space continues into the building, bringing with its stone surface, the floor of the city.

architect: Grafton Architects (directors: Yvonne Farrell, Shelley McNamara)
associate directors: Gerard Carty, Philippe O’Sullivan, Emmett Scanlon
project architect: Simona Castelli
collaborators: Lennart Breternitz, Matthew Beattie, Philip Comerford, Miriam Dunn, Andreas Degn, Ann Henry, David Leech, John Barry Lowe, Eavan Meagher, Orla Murphy, Aoibheann Ni Mhearainn, Kieran O’Brien, Sterrin O’Shea, Eoghan O’Shea, Michael Pike, Anna Ryan, Maurizio Scalera, Ansgar Staudt, Gavin Wheatley
client: Università Luigi Bocconi
responsable for the client: Nicolò Di Blasi
structural supervision of construction: Studio Ingegneria E.Pereira
project and systems supervision of construction: Amman Progetti
coordination and civil supervision of construction: Progetto Pcmr
coordination of building standards: Studio Rabuffetti
acoustic, electrical and special systems consultant: Arpservice P. Molina
fire-fighting consultant: Silvestre Mistretta
interior design: Avenue Architects
photos: Marco Introini