When sustainability scrapes the sky
There are two ways of admiring the new Unipol Tower in Bologna. The first is to go up to the top floor and enjoy the breathtaking view from there. This, it should be mentioned, is the eighth tallest building in Italy. The second is to stop by the ground floor and take note of the plaque attesting to its excellent environmental standards that have earned the building LEED NC Gold certification. Again, it should be mentioned that this is the first tower block in Italy to be credited with that distinction. This formal recognition is the end result of a process which started back in 2004 when the client that commissioned the contract, Unipol, expressed a wish that its new building should be noted for the highest benchmarks in reduction of energy consumption and best practices in terms of management of natural resources, energy saving, user awareness and high-quality workspaces facilitating staff relations. That aim has led to the achievement of a major milestone for Italy’s green architecture, thanks to one of the biggest private investments being made in recent years in its pursuit.
This towering construction is set in the heart of a new development, situated not far from the Tangenziale Adriatica bypass and built on the land of a former industrial area fallen into disuse. Besides the new skyscraper, the site offers a hotel, a multiplex cinema and a wide choice of shops and services, making this a major facility for the city of Bologna.
The entire project, from the urban design stages through to the building site management, was developed by Open Project (a Bologna-based architecture and engineering firm) and coordinated through the contributions of highly qualified partners including Studio Majowiecki, dealing with the structures, Betaprogetti, in charge of the plant and equipment, and Habitech, working in partnership with Unipol and the integrated design team for the attainment of LEED certification.
Throughout the process, a great deal of attention was paid to the maximization of energy and water conservation, the development of an extremely high-performance building shell, efficiency and integration of technical equipment systems, the choice of materials, landscape design, sustainable mobility, the waste cycle and finally the quality of the interiors. Here, the natural light flooding in and permeating all the spaces improves comfort and by reducing the need for artificial lighting boosts energy effectiveness.
The building, in which over 1,000 people work, has 25 floors with office spaces, 3 floors with meeting rooms and roof gardens, an entrance hall with triple-height ceiling and 3 basement floors. In terms of finishing materials, the prime feature is the interior cladding, for which the design team chose to use over 10,000 square metres of ultra-thin Kerlite porcelain from the Over-Road Series made by Cotto d’Este.
Cotto d'Este, Kerlite Over
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): UA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): <145 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): >120 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): compliant
Crazing resistance (ISO 10545-11): compliant
Linear thermal expansion (ISO 10545-8): compliant