Projects

Sant'Agostino Multifunctional Centre - Paderno Dugnano (Milan)

Sant’Agostino Multifunctional Centre

An innovative ceramic tile installation layout and unusual colours lend architectural strength to a building with simple shapes
Author
Santino Limonta
Photos
Daniele Domenicali
Architect
Giacomo Cavadini (Humusstudio)
Surfaces
MARAZZI
Year of completion
2010

Via dell’Industria in Paderno Dugnano is an anonymous zone lacking architectural landmarks, like so many that have grown up chaotically in the Milan suburbs during the years of the reconstruction. Into this already highly heterogeneous urban landscape, consisting of industrial buildings around which various residential districts were constructed in the seventies, the Sant’Agostino Multifunctional Centre was introduced as a further discordant element. The enormous constraints on the profile imposed by the size of the lot as well as the nature and dimensions of the adjacent buildings made it impossible even to attempt to integrate the building into the context, prompting the architects to go in the opposite direction and to seek a powerful effect of visual dissonance. The building consists of a single block with a rectangular layout and simple, square shapes. The only element that could be exploited to enhance its aesthetic power and technological content was the facade, so the decision was immediately taken to adopt the ventilated façade technique. There were two main reasons for this: firstly because it was advantageous in terms of energy performance and living comfort, secondly because it offered the possibility of fully exploiting the enormous aesthetic potential of an external façade consisting of porcelain tiles from Marazzi’s Monolith collection. A meticulous study of the installation pattern for the multiple sizes of this product, based on a varied vertical and horizontal layout on a façade already distinguished by the staggered positions of the windows and the use of coloured window surrounds, gave this simple building the strongly dissonant and contemporary look that the design team were seeking. The Sant’Agostino centre has four above-ground levels, functionally designed for mixed commercial activities and offices, and a basement level used as an open car park. With the exception of some technical volumes and the stairs, which were cast on site, the structure was built entirely from prefabricated components designed to leave the floors entirely free of columns, while the windows were custom made. The ground floor, entirely glass-panelled and protected by a red painted steel plate canopy, has a single volume but is ready to be divided into two units if this becomes necessary in the future. The internal floor covering in the public portion consists of ceramic tiles, while the private section features 60×60 cm floating slabs with self-levelling galvanised steel feet. All the window frames consist of thermal break and thermal joint aluminium profiles. The window surrounds are made of pre-assembled, jointless stove-enamelled steel plate. They are also angled outward with a 3° slope to eliminate problems of water stagnation.

Tiles
Marazzi, Monolith series
Type
porcelain stoneware
Sizes
30x60, 60x60, 60x120, 30x120
Colours
Black
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): >1200
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): conforme
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >45
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R11
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme
Certifications and awards
LEED
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