Projects

School Complex, Massalengo, Lodi

A school in Massalengo

A new school in the Lodi area combines tradition and technology in a modern version of the country house
Author
Maria Giulia Zunino
Photos
Vittorio Dozio
Architect
Alessandro Traldi - Atelier Traldi
Surfaces
CASALGRANDE PADANA
Distributor
Piacenza Ceramiche
Year of completion
2012

Massalengo – the name comes from the noble Massalenghi family who owned the ancient Benedictine property in the 17th Century – retains strong links to the agricultural traditions that endure today in the fertile plains around the northern Italian city of Lodi. The Cascina Grande, adjacent to a Liberty villa in the increasingly urbanised town centre, testifies to this fact.
In designing the new schools for the town, architect Alessandro Traldi has intentionally returned to the concept of the typical Lombardy country house of old, recognising its value as a model of collective living which is also key to the concept of education. 
The result is a building which fits perfectly into its setting, rigorous and elegant in its formal simplicity, while maintaining the dignity that enhances the architectural quality of public buildings and creates a strong sense of belonging in the user. 
Traldi is by no means new to public architecture, nor to the theme of belonging. We can cite the Temporary Auditorium created in L’Aquila by Renzo Piano/RPBW and Atelier Traldi – the studio’s name evokes the expertise of the craftsman and the creativity of the artist – and conceived as a city square, a landmark place for interaction and integration.
In the new school complex, this is expressed primarily by the layout: the entrance of the school is slightly set back to create a small square for welcoming and meeting children and parents; the gym, open to the public, creates a slight emergence both horizontally and vertically, evocative of the landscape of fields, silos and country houses; the nursery school, primary school, kindergarten and canteen combine with the gym to delimit the central courtyard, a protected area in which the children can play and interact. 
It is also expressed by the façades, where porcelain tiles from Casalgrande Padana dialogue with the white concrete, the sunshade panels and the projecting white window frames in a vertical pattern which gives a rhythm to the whole. 
”From the point of view of aesthetics, the Natural Slate cladding is interesting because its grain and the Slate Red colour are reminiscent of the terracotta used in traditional country houses, which darkens over time as it oxidises,” says Traldi. “What’s more, it is the ideal product for protecting the walls, which are composed of bricks made with a mix of cement and wood chippings: the orange peel finish takes the sun very well, lending energy to the entire surface. Finally, the sustainability, durability and low maintenance costs of porcelain tiles are critical when building an eco-sustainable complex like this one, where we’ve aimed to increase energy savings with geothermal heating and cooling, and solar energy for hot water production.”

Tiles
Casalgrande Padana, Natural Slate
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
15x45 cm
Colours
Slate Red
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,10%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): conforme
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): N/mm2 50÷60
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R10 A+B
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme
Certifications and awards
LEED
EMAS
ISO 14001
NF UPEC
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