Bologna City Council organised a project financing competition in order to choose a design for its new Municipal head office. This project was selected for development. Their intention is to bring together in one efficient complex the various offices and 1,100 employees that are currently located in 21 different buildings scattered throughout the city.
The new building is situated in the Bolognina district on the site of the former fruit and vegetable wholesale market beyond the railway tracks. The project, which also provides space for shops, offices, services and sports facilities, seeks to upgrade the area and re-connect it to the city centre.
The site is developed orthogonally with a north-south orientation.
The design concept is to break down a single mass into three distinct blocks destined for different activities.
These are situated along the western edge of the lot in such a way as to form an open square on the Bolognina side.
A combination of open and closed spaces creates a network of new mainly pedestrian paths and streets.
Approaching from the south the complex presents parking, shops and then two towers that house the Civic Offices and related child-care and restaurant facilities.
A new public square slopes down from the street serves to give access to the different blocks and to unify them into a harmonious whole. The building façades have been finished with different materials depending on the degree of exposure to the sun. Those most exposed east and west facing are finished with a system of inclined
sand blasted glass louvers.
All of the blocks benefit from the screening effect of a shading roof which serves the dual purpose of providing solar protection and lending architectural cohesion to the complex. This large single cover is the defining element of the design. It is folded like a giant origami that rests gently on the various buildings above a panoramic terrace.