BOLZANO – Located in Bolzano, Northern Italy, the extension of the Hannah Arendt Vocational School was recently brought to completion by local practice Claudio Lucchin & Architetti Associati and proudly stands as the first underground educational establishment in the country.
Addressing the acute lack of space for the existing facilities, the architects successfully distributed additional classrooms, workshops, utility rooms and a winter garden on four levels, hiding everything away below ground level so as to leave untouched the integrity of the historic site.
Claudio Lucchin & Architetti Associati tackles the structural, functional and environmental challenges of inserting such an interesting piece of contemporary architecture into a traditional urban setting – strewn with carefully preserved historical artefacts – by carrying out an appropriate excavation shoring, retaining a tangible relationship with the original construction, opting for an extensive use of glazed surfaces and creating a central atrium void, which efficiently captures and effuses natural light down into the underground environment. Moreover, a mechanical ventilation system assists in the exchange and circulation of air within the building.
The project seems to be showcasing a strong interest towards the use of simple, yet highly-expressive materials, that once involved in a compelling sculptural interplay with light, allow for the creation of inhabitable spaces that are significantly more enjoyable and comfortable.
Photos Alessandra Chemollo