Banca Popolare Lodi
The head office of this important Lombard credit institution provides the opportunity for an urban intervention that includes, along with the offices of the bank, other offices, stores, an auditorium, and public spaces immerse in greenery. In it, we further developed the theme of terra-cotta.
One of the largest banks in the Lombardy region of Italy, Banca Popolare di Lodi, wanted its new headquarters to be a multifunctional building. Sensing that fortified business centers were a thing of the past, the bank envisioned a site that would be conducive to plants and vegetation and open to pedestrian traffic.
The location, a former dairy farm in an industrial zone, was the impetus behind the project. Indeed, the dairy is located at the intersection of two of the city's major arteries, near the main train station and the downtown area. And so the setting is necessarily urban.
The façade's homogeneous design is broken up by openings and passageways. Far from being a "barrier", the site lends itself to comings and goings. Inside the perimeter is a large square, covered by a light glass-and-steel cable structure that serves as the meeting place for scores of pedestrians. It is this square that leads to The bank's headquarters and to an 800-seat auditorium—an innovation that enhances the urban quality of life.
The site complements the city completely. It has become a new district, in addition to being the principal office "the bank". Thriving with vegetation, it is a meeting place, a business center and a site for social exchange : retail outlets and other offices have also opened in the complex.
The prevailing motif is the many terra-cotta-covered cylindrical structures of varying height. Their forms and colors clearly evoke the silos typically seen in the region.
Auditorium of the Banca Popolare di Lodi
The Banca Popolare di Lodi project was an ambitious one, as it planned the transformation of a disused industrial estate not only into headquarters of a bank, but also into a piece of city. The project meant including the city life, through cultural and social aspects, which was achieved through the 4400 square meters Auditorium.
Located at the heart of the site, the auditorium was first intended for corporate meetings, lectures, general assemblies etc. But the idea to make it a musical space too, and open it to the public for musical events, made its way quickly. Indeed, the auditorium was planned rather as a concert hall, which could be used for business events, rather than the other way round.
To keep up with the rest of the project, the auditorium has a 28 meters diameter circular shape. The 780 seats are disposed in a cavea way, around the central point of reference, which is the stage, without being formally separated.
The auditorium having a round shape, one main condition was to study thoroughly the acoustics, so as to avoid any undesired effect of sound repercussion, to ensure the best quality achievable. This was realized principally through the design of a quite particular ceiling: white, large globes, of various sizes and heights, are suspended on the ceiling. Their role is to reflect the sound to every part of the hall in a uniform way. They are also used as a complementary lighting system: light is projected on their white surface, which they redistribute on the audience.
Various spaces are to be found around, and under, this main hall: storing and rehearsal rooms, technical spaces etc. The last particularity of the Auditorium is its foyer, which is directly linked to the main square of the project, at its very core, under the glass canopy: the square becomes thus, with its sculpture by Susumu Shingu and the horizontal glass curtain, the continuity of the foyer outside