An obsolete industrial facility belonging to a well-established company in the Piemonte region is transformed into a state-of-the-art research and development center. The intervention focuses on refurbishing an existing industrial building to create a new space that matches the needs and requirements of the leader in the industry. The environmental strategy unfolds on several levels. First, a choice to refurbish an existing building is a way to conserve the embodied energy of its original materials. Second, an array of renewable energy systems is designed to lower the new facility’s consumption. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the innovative façade shading system is designed to be produced by the local manufacturers, thus feeding back into the local economy of which it is an integral part.
The transformed building is situated on a relatively large industrial lot at the banks of a local river. The building is a simple volume, roughly 40m by 15m in plan, its longer side oriented towards the south-east. It is a reinforced concrete structure with brick enclosure and simple glazing. The roof structure consists of prefabricated concrete elements, shaped as inverted barrel vaults.
The transformation of this building starts with stripping down its aged and poorly performing envelope and reinforcing the structural elements. The new envelope on the long sided of the building will consist of high-performance glazing and an external shading system designed to be produced by the local manufacturers.
The grand internal volume of the building will remain open, with three sub-zones that correspond to the new functions. The central area of the plan becomes a platform for product testing. To either side, an enclosed volume with a mezzanine will contain additional program, such as office and archive space and basic services.
Adjacent to the north-west side of the transformed building, a new covered space will accommodate additional flexible functions. These added spaces will open towards an internal sculpture garden.