Architect says Italian newspaper building reflects wellness, life quality

14:43, April 18, 2010      

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The new headquarters of the Italian leading financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore is an impressive example of sustainability and modern architecture, reflecting wellness and life quality, said a project architect.

In an interview with Xinhua, Giorgio Ceruti said the office building has been selected by the Shanghai Expo committee as an example of a sustainable ecological building.

Ceruti said the reasons for the site's selection lie in the perfect blend of energy-saving materials and a light, elegant architectural structure.

"The entire site is an innovative and technological space guaranteeing environmental well-being," he said.

The most fascinating aspects are the underground wells from which cool water is extracted for the building's ventilation system, the glass walls that allow the outside light to enter, thus curbing electricity consumption, and the 1,400 external (instead of internal) mobile green shades protecting from the sun's rays and excessive warming that go mechanically up and down depending upon the amount of heat.

Walking inside the new Il Sole 24 Ore headquarters is a fascinating experience. Here everything looks transparent and luminous, as if the entire structure was suspended above ground, in mid air. The visitor feels like standing on a cloud while his eyes cut through the glass walls, from the inside directly onto the outside street. It's like looking at an x-ray or a 3-dimensional image.

The complex is immense, extended on an area of 20,000 square meters. It is supported by twelve 20-meter-tall columns and is built on five floors.

A former industrial site, it was restyled by world-famous architect Renzo Piano. In 1998, the area was purchased by Il Sole 24 Ore editorial group who assigned the project to Piano. The old structure was then completely pulled-down and the reconstruction lasted from 2001 till 2004.

Ceruti explained that Piano's goal in boosting the structure's transparency was to convey the message of a transparent information, core-asset of all newspapers.

"But of course, the sensation you get in here is of a pleasant office building, where there is general wellness and an elevated life quality," he said.

The construction materials used are metal, iron, glass and crystal. The site is divided in two parts: a central body with the main entrance, offices, a bar, a lounge room for cultural events and a business school.

Outside, a square connects to a second area forming a sort of green dome-shaped artificial hill covered by 300 trees. Underneath lie a conference center, a technological wooden auditorium with about 250 seats and a cinematographic screen, a cafeteria holding 700 people and a 400-place parking lot.

From the 22 external crystal elevators there's a breathtaking view on the square and artificial hill. The auditorium has already staged a concert and the goal is to turn it into a cultural center for exhibitions, seminars and conferences.

Several years ago, Piano used the know-how and experience developed in Il Sole 24 Ore new headquarters' project to restyle the New York Times' skyscraper.

Source: Xinhua


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