A business complex with terracotta brise-soleil cladding
Cristiano Picco, Jean Pierre Buffi, Giulio Gramegna, Studio Inmar e Studio Stingar
Spina Centrale is an ambitious redevelopment programme for the city of Turin centred on a single boulevard designed by Vittorio Gregotti which traverses the city from North to South.
The executive stage of the programme was split into four separate projects, each of which covers a portion of the boulevard itself and also involves rehabilitating the surrounding areas. Of the four projects, Spina 3 occupies the largest area (more than a million square metres) with total investments amounting to around 800 million euro.
The Spina 3 area includes the Vitali district, the former site of the Teksid foundries which lies between Via Orvieto, Via Verolengo, Via Borgaro and the former route of Corso Mortara. The French architecture firm Buffi Associés was commissioned to take charge of the urban design and architectural redevelopment project through the construction of tertiary and residential complexes.
The district is also home to Vitali Park, an avant-garde multilevel gallery that hosts manufacturing, business and service activities for small and medium-sized companies extending over an area of 15,000 square metres and with property units varying from 400 to 550 square metres in size.
The complex, designed by Buffi Associés in cooperation with the firms Picco, Gramegna, Inmar and Stingar, consists of two blocks divided into multi-level parallel volumes and a full-height central space with a transparent roof.
Both blocks extend over four functional levels above ground and one basement which houses the car park with 90 parking spaces and the technical rooms.
The horizontal connections between the various floors of the building consist of metal walkways suspended from the roof and landings facing onto the gallery. The vertical connections consist of stair blocks inside the building volumes and a series of personnel and goods lifts inside the covered central gallery.
The complex design of the internal space contrasts with the monolithic profile of the east and west facades, which feature distinctive horizontal terracotta strip cladding with a solar screen function.
This brise-soleil system uses Terra Slope extruded terracotta elements with a unique broad and flat shape specially designed and produced by Palagio Engineering.
They are mounted on frames with variable separations, further apart on the transparent sections and closer together on the opaque sections. This creates an interesting pattern of horizontal lines on the façade which renders the aesthetics of the building highly distinctive and makes it immediately recognisable within the urban fabric.
The north and south ends of the two blocks feature a complex alternation of opaque and transparent elements (respectively, concrete panels and aluminium window frames), framed by strips of pre-painted steel sheet.