The new teaching wing of Liceo Gambara
Ditta Sei di Ammirabile Luca
The Liceo Gambara high school in the northern Italian town of Brescia is split between two sites: the main facility in Via Gambara, in one of the city’s most important historical buildings, where the language and social science courses are held; and the second site in Via Sonino Bonini which hosts the socio-psycho-pedagogical courses and social science courses with social specialisation. The work for the new teaching wing involved the site in Via Sonino Bonini, but in fact implemented only part of the project drawn up by architect Giorgio Astori.
The spacious, well-lit classrooms are located on both floors of the two-storey building, illuminated by large skylights that allow natural light to permeate inside. The entrance leads into a large central courtyard space where the secretariat and offices are located. The floor tiles in the first and second floor classrooms and for the corridor, offices and library were supplied by Cercom. For this project, the architect chose the Lapilli high stress-resistant unglazed porcelain floor tile collection, which is ideal for use in public spaces. The project provided an ideal template for articulating a space that shuns monofunctional rigidity.
The project centres around the users – students, teachers and staff – and exploits space, natural light, materials and circulation routes to create convenient and user-friendly aggregation areas.
The concept behind this educational building is summed up in Astori’s words: „We wanted to create a building that would be meaningful rather than celebratory, clearly identifiable rather than pretentious or redundant; instead of ostentatious it should be capable of fostering mental participation, reflection and contemplation. We worked slowly and meticulously with a view to creating something lasting and solid. We therefore sought an architecture project that would somehow reflect the time-honoured activity of building.“ In this respect the project addresses the issue of permanence and solidity.
Within the educational building typology, the clarity and simplicity of the floorplan fully expresses the concept of a new relationship between man and environment, closer to time-honoured values yet at the same time capable of new cultural expressions.
The building is solidly constructed on the basis of these principles and exhibits an extraordinary wealth of spatial relationships between the constituent parts. The project underscores the concrete nature of the profession as a work in progress, rejecting formalistic complacency as part of a design practice that draws from the finest experience in the field. It strives to achieve normality by identifying fresh goals that are increasingly in line with newly emerging living requirements.