The site for the new laboratories and administrative offices of the Emilia Romagna ARPA and the new administrative offices for the Municipality of Ravenna is located in Ravenna’s western suburbs in an interesting urban setting, immersed deep in the natural environment.
In this complex and demanding situation, outside the confines of the main city, in an area of transition between the city and the surrounding countryside, the role of the two new buildings is to enhance and merge with the countryside that surrounds them, rather than with the built-up areas and their functional restrictions.
The two new structures appear to have grown out of the landscape, transforming into one of the most significant elements of the local environment.
The buildings will have three storeys above ground, in the form of two wings in the centre, and there will be a triple construction in the middle including an entrance hall overlooked by both the three floors of offices and laboratories (ARPA) on the one side and the offices of the various departments, managers and designers and those open to the public (the municipal offices) on the other.
The design criteria gave great weight to the requirements arising from the probable need to effect internal modifications to the arrangement of the buildings, making it possible to carry out modification works localised to specific areas without this impeding the use of the plant design for adjacent spaces.
Another essential aspect of the design was the “modularity” and “flexibility” of the plant systems. The entrance halls within each building, with their aspects kept free from any of the other floors or internal corners (using a system of landings and suspended crossings), have been designed to act as the true lungs of the building allowing both for heat accumulation and treatment of the air masses so accumulated. Indeed, this is the point where such air comes into contact with the green gardens and the water walls, providing natural regulation of both temperature and humidity.
During the summer months, the falling water making up the wide surfaces of the water walls refreshes the air, allowing it to absorb humidity from the environment by condensation. In the winter months, the water provides the entrance hall’s heated air with the necessary humidity.
In summary therefore, the building represented a stimulating opportunity for the application of advanced design concepts, while also embodying the expression of a “sustainable” technological and environmental culture both from the technical and economic point of view.