Don Carlo Gnocchi rehabilitation centre (I.R.C.C.S.) - Florence

A visually striking terracotta ventilated facade

One of the distinctive elements of a new centre of healthcare excellence is its effective system of rear ventilated facades with eye-catching terracotta cladding elements.
Alfredo Zappa
Salvatore Romano,
Andrea Santini,
Francesco Martella
Palagio Engineering
Year of completion
A new architectural development with a long history, a modern container that serves as a point of reference and an element of continuity between the experience of the past and a commitment to the future. Sixty years after Don Gnocchi first arrived in Florence and set up a home for war orphans in a historic villa in Pozzolatico, the eponymous foundation opened the new Don Carlo Gnocchi rehabilitation centre at Torregalli, just outside Florence. A leading scientific facility at a regional and national level, the centre specialises in prevention and rehabilitation as well as research, working in close cooperation with prestigious university clinics. The project, awarded to architect Salvatore Romano, engineer Andrea Santini and surveyor Francesco Martella, combines aesthetics with the rigorous functional brief typical of this kind of building. The result is a complex development comprising a number of different volumes that are differentiated according to their intended uses and enhanced by the quality of the surface materials. The building blends into the urban landscape without jarring contrasts, but at the same time projects a strong contemporary image and sense of identity. Inside, organised on three levels, are the wards with 186 beds and associated facilities. Alongside there are large spaces for logistic, technological and care services. There is also a space of more than 5,000 square metres entirely devoted to research. Both the building structure and the facilities of the new hospital have been designed with a focus on innovative technologies, particularly in terms of sustainability, energy efficiency and indoor comfort. This includes preferential use of renewable sources, installation of solar thermal and photovoltaic panels and a high-efficiency envelope based on a ventilated façade solution with external facing in terracotta elements and panels. This solution, developed by Palagio Engineering, not only makes a vital contribution to the image of the hospital complex but also plays an important role in ensuring the highest levels of thermal and acoustic insulation. The various layers consist of 8 cm thick insulating panels, a 10 cm ventilated air gap and finally the exterior terracotta shell anchored to an aluminium supporting substructure. In all, the building is enclosed by 6,000 square metres of terracotta ventilated façade (Terrablock and TerraBlockR panels with a natural red coloured sanded surface), along with 700 square metres of TerraTube solar screen elements, installed to shield some of the windows. The overall installation is perfectly integrated in terms of both architecture and technology.
Palagio Engineering: Terrablock,TerraBlockR, Terra Tube series
Terrablock e Terrablock R 250x1150 mm;
TerraTube - 40x50x610 mm
Rosso naturale, sandblast
Technical characteristics
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant
Request Project info > Products Gallery >