The PROGRESS HAS ALWAYS BEEN DEEPLY CONNECTED TO THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE PAST AND HISTORY, and only starting from them it would be possible to pursuit innovative goals. As for the expansion of an exsisting building, that should MOVE FROM THE KNOWLEDGE AND RESPECT OF THE ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE. BUT HOW IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO INTERVENE ON A EXISTING COMPLEX OF BUILDINGS WITH IMPORTANT HISTORICAL CHARACTERISTICS WITHOUT COMPROMISING ITS ARCHITECTURAL VALUE? FURTHERMORE, HOW ITS SPACES CAN IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF THE WORK OF PEOPLE THAT WILL USE THEM? The idea was that of WORKING WITH DIFFERENT LAYERS: a NEW LAYER of PROGRESS AND INNOVATION which is fundamentally based on the EXISTING LAYER OF HISTORY AND MEMORY. The new buildings will be set above the existing structures, filled with activities and socialization areas, able to improve the relatioship between the different incubated start-up, that will become the substantial foundation of the entire system.

The unfinished EXISTING STRUCTURES designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer will be preserved, able to HAND DOWN THEIR MESSAGE to the future generations, but at the same time, they will be DIRECTLY INVOLVED INTO THE NEW SYSTEM. The new buildings will be placed above them, but they will be structurally indipendent, ensuring the total permeability of the ground floor. It will be the LAYER DEDICATED TO PUBLIC FUNCTIONS and while the existing structures will be filled with common and attractive activities. The OVERSTANDING BUILDINGS, INSTEAD, WILL BE COMPLETELY DEDICATED TO WORK AND RESIDENTIAL.

The general design of the expansion area moves from the MAIN AXIS OF THE SURROUNDING BUILDINGS of the”Rachid Karami International Fair“, whose lines expand radially outwards to E’Maard Street. The project area is organized through multiple functionalized zones, which are crossed and connected by different pedestrian pathways. The first layer, moving from the street, is the PARKING AREA (A); the second, is the BUFFER GREEN AREA (B) which separates the parking lots from the PERMEABLE SOCIAL AREA (C). This is the area that welcomes the new buildings, which aims to guarantee a physical and visual permeability of the site. Sport fields, orchards and kindergartens are placed in the EQUIPPED GREEN AREA (D), while multiple EXPERIMENTAL FLEXIBLE AREAS (E) are placed close to the EXISTING BUILDINGS (F).

The expansion project is articulated into two different constructions phases. The PHASE 1 provides the construction of six buildings with different functions suspended above the existing ones: the huge cube, covered with videowalls, houses the DATA CENTER; Building 00 houses both ADMINISTRATIVE AND OFFICES AREAS: the RESIDENTIAL building counts 40 units, divided into studios and 2 rooms apartments; Buildings 01-02-03 are totally dedicated to OFFICES. The PHASE 2 counts three different stages, and provides the construction of two SOCIAL BUILDINGS placed at the ground floor, and three suspended OFFICE BUILDINGS.

The ground floor of the project is conceived as a PUBLIC URBAN PLACE, where the ease of socialization and the provision of different functions are the main aims to pursuit. Many public activities take place inside the existing buildings, surrounded by multiple squares as the Main access square, the Residential square and the Central square. The area is crossed and served by a PUBLIC BOULEVARD, an equipped pathway that collects the most of the outdoor activities.

The new buildings are designed to be STRUCTURALLY INDIPENDENT from the existing one. The NATURAL AND LOCAL MATERILAS used will establish a deep relationship with the surrounding context. The simple design, that will ensure an OPTIMIZATION of the indoor functions and a HIGH FLEXIBILITY, will restrain the construction costs.

The main strategy focused on the use of PASSIVE TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS TO MINIMIZE THE NEED OF ACTIVE SYSTEMS, that in any case would prefere renewable sources of energy. The RAIN WATER will be collected into tanks, and after treatments, will be reused for the irrigation of green areas, water features supply and wc. The new buildings provides the use of a WOODEN SHADING SYSTEM, to control the heath filtering into the working and residential spaces. The GREEN ROOFTOPS, will preserve a comfortable inner temperature, helping to contrast at the same time the urban Heat Island effect.


With: Arch. Michela D’angeli, Beatrice Pizzicaroli, Eleonora Ragonici