A school that welcomes the local community
CMSA Società Cooperativa
The gently rolling Florentine plain, a traditional country church of considerable architectural merit, a green university campus equipped with plenty of sports facilities and above all the desire to create an educational establishment that is open to the entire community and has multifunctional collective spaces that can be used and adapted to various needs: these are the key features of the new Agnoletti scientific secondary school in Sesto Fiorentino, a centre of learning excellence that now also stands as a symbol of contemporary humanism.
Designed by the practice Settanta7, the architects envisaged the educational facility as a kind of civic centre. Originally located in the centre of Florence, the new school was built to accommodate 900 students and has 35 classrooms and five laboratories. The ground floor is an open space intended for use by the general public consisting of an auditorium, a cafeteria, a library, offices and workshops. “During the early planning stages, we reflected on the need to connect the building with the surrounding area and the community, especially by providing cycle paths and pedestrian walkways,” explain the architects from Settanta7. “In keeping with this open, community-based approach, we envisioned two courtyards which would not only have a bioclimatic function but would also welcome users of the services, from sports and recreational facilities to university and research activities.”
The building, extending over three above-ground floors around the south courtyard and two floors around the north courtyard, consists of three blocks, two with an educational function and one housing a gym. In order to align the building with the church and an east-west orientation, the volumes were rotated, creating terraces overlooked by the large glazed perimeter walls of the east elevation. These spaces have superior performance in terms of lighting and internal comfort and are used for educational activities. “We wanted to protect and highlight the small church devoted to the Madonna del Piano as a symbol of the area’s centuries-old rural history, thereby celebrating the close ties between the hyper-technological Agnoletti school and the local area,” say the architects.
The characteristics of the façades vary according to the buildings they face onto. To the west, a curtain wall system with a higher percentage of glazed than opaque sections signals the intent of openness and hospitality towards users and the community. To the east, the presence of the university laboratories with their rigorous, functional nature is reflected in the reversal of the ratio between transparent and opaque sections.
In keeping with the client’s request for a modern, international and all-round educational concept, the architects placed great emphasis on the connecting spaces, which are not only used by students to move around the school but also serve for complementary activities such as the community library and areas for individual reading, group discussion, meetings and tutoring. Two large, visually-striking staircases connect the various floors of the building, while porcelain tiles from Cerdisa’s Reden collection in the colour Grey were chosen for the flooring. Installed both on screed and on raised floors, the tiles have a minimalist look enhanced by their imperfections, mottling, porosity and burn marks, creating a timeworn, reclaimed industrial look while at the same time delivering the durability and toughness essential for a building of this kind.
Last but not least, the project focused on reducing energy consumption and consequently operating costs as well as its impact on the surrounding environment.
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,5%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): B MIN
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 175 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 35 N/mm2
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): conforme