Ferrara (Italy), 2017



Ferrara, Italy


Ferrara University


Entry – International Design Competition



Design Team

Sergio Bianchi with Valeria Menculini, Roberto Ruggeri, Simone Fracasso, Giuseppe Contartese, Enzo Alleva

The project starts from the choice to privilege the relationship between the pre-existing building and the new one.

A central spine marks the entrance and clearly structures the functions and organization of the building. The same axis defines the distribution, functions, the structure and the plant system.

Entering the atrium there’s a large space characterized on the left by a ribbon window with a continuous bench that is the only fixed furniture for stopovers and informal meetings.
The colors of the existing building have guided the choice of tones and materials of the new one. If inside the wooden structure is revealed and highlighted for its warmth and its structuring presence, outside is hidden, both to protect it and to present a skin that shows a direct kinship with the brutalist language of the existing univerisity building.
From the atrium there is direct access to the two classrooms, both with a constant 5% slope, respectively with 180 and 185 seats. By sliding the wall in the middle it is possible to join them. For the people with disabilities there are two seats in each classroom.

From a technological point of view we decided to use a laminated wood frame system, both for the sustainability and for the “dry” character of the construction.

The need to maintain the faculty’s activities during the whole construction period requires a fast and safe construction site. The wooden frame construction also allows to cover important distances dictated by the connotation of the classrooms, in which a greater amplitude is favored, in order to bring the students closer to the professors. The wooden structure, innervates the building and connotes it. At the entrance the structure is revealed; as in a game of drawers that slide out, the pergolas extend outwards to create a covered portico that marks the entrance.
All the roofs, with the exception of the one where the photovoltaic system is, are covered with extensive green (sedum) which helps to adjust the air pollution and improves the thermal performance of the building. The focus on reducing soil consumption has led to the choice of the positioning of the technical facilities on the top of the roof. In fact, the construction of a technical room at ground level would probably have been more advantageous in strictly economic and financial terms, but it would have subtracted space for the green and for the spaces for relationship.