Lucia D'Amato Architect

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A new building in via Torino, inthe center of Milano near the Duomo cathedral, hosting art pieces and public functions

A.Y. 2007 / 2008   Semester 1

Prof. Denti Giovanni

The theme of Design Workshop was a museum building in an urban void, still present in the central area of Milan: the lot, tangent away from Via Torino, in between Via Palla and Via Lupetta, is surrounded by the residential and commercial urban fabric.

The expected delivery was the conceiving of a museum for the display of specific works selected from the collections of three artists. The project had to fit in the urban fabric in total autonomy, without changes to the surrounding buildings.

The building was designed to be well integrated with the existing fabric and to exploit the potentialities of the area, such as the presence of a commercial road, the view of the Duomo Cathedral from the fifth floor, and to try to mitigate the negative interferences, such as the presence of blank walls of adjacent buildings and the close proximity of the surrounding built fabric.

On the ground floor reception and entertainment functions are integrated with the context, and from the first floor are located the works of art, specially selected from the collections of Arnaldo Pomodoro, Canova and Francis Bacon. These have a controlled distribution of light through stained glass windows designed to be shielded by walls on which paintings are placed, and which are therefore surrounded by a diffused light that creates no disturbance to the enjoyment of the work. The openings are not hidden, but the public of the museum can move between the wall and the window in order to be able to have a panoramic view on the outside, addressed to specific focal points such as the church of S. Sebastian on the front, that of S. Alexander on the back, and on the top floor, which hosts works suitable for outside on the terrace, an overview of the Duomo.

The blind wall of the adjacent building was screened by a vertical wall on which worksof art are on display.



New didactic spaces for the city of Valencia: project of a university campus with didactic spaces, artists’ ateliers and students housing

A.Y. 2009 / 2010   semester 1

Prof. Pierfranco Galliani

The theme of the project carried out within the Design Lab 3 is the construction of a residence hall and university spaces in the outskirts of the city of Valencia, Spain, close to other  educational facilities, as the Universidad de Valencia campus, and along an important axis, an high-speed road that connects the center of the city to the sea, the Avenida de los Naranjos.

Everything has been designed as a single campus that includes, in addition to the spaces described, workshops for artists and a park surrounding the campus, but open to the city, connecting the road to an already existent public garden.The university building is designed to accommodate about 800 students, to provide additional spaces for the other educational buildings present in the area, that can host 250 students.In the same building of the residence hall, at the ground floor of the central block, multi-functional spaces for artists are placed, thought to be working 24hours per day, and so placed in the wing of the complex active during closing time of the educational spaces.

The university building consists of 4 floors, of which the first two, on the ground floor, are separated by an open space between them that provides access from the street to the campus.On the ground floor on one side the large capacity classrooms and on the others the departments for professors are placed, independent of the rest of the building, but internally connected at the third floor. In the upper floors, offices, study rooms and small classrooms. Part of the building is a bridge suspended through the use of Vierendeel steel beams which are perfectly suited to the placement of modular offices. The openings are designed to not create disturbance to teaching, and are placed at a height sufficient to provide enough light without glare. At the atrium, glass-ceiling illuminates the entrance foyer. The steel structure of the university building is realized with simple HE and IPE profiles for the classrooms body, while it is articulated through Vierendeel beams in the hanged  portion of the construction. The elevations are realized with light fibercement precast panels including insulation coating, anchored on the masonry infill structure and on the main steel frame.

The student residence was placed in the portion of the lot adjacent to the historic residential neighbourhood behind it, so as to maintain homogeneity in the residential function and to provide, through the separation into three blocks, an organic head to the compact fabric. According to these premises, the building consists of three blocks linked by glazed suspended bridges that provide an open view to the streets of the neighborhood.

Inside, the rooms are distributed on the boundaries to leave open the central portion, illuminated by light from above, and to provide an exterior-facing to all rooms, given the depth of the building. The rooms are located upstairs, all with individual bathroom and the ground floor spaces are dedicated to common services, including some available for external students, such as the canteen. The floor of ateliers is completely independent from the rest. The structure of the student residence is a more traditional one, with a concrete framed structure, lightweighted masonry for the horizontal partitions, with polystyrene predalles, and  precast insulated panels for the vertical ones. The external facade is cladded with steel panels, white painted (Alucobond panels), of the same dimensions of the corten steel micro-perforated sheets that function as sunscreens. When they are closed, they are in line with the facade.They are pivot-sliding screens that can be wrapped up on the side of the balconies, useful position to protect by sun, projecting out from the elevation. 



Temporary urbanism: urban and housing solutions for the city of Rosarno, Reggio Calabria

A.Y. 2010 / 2011   semester 1

Prof. Stefano Boeri

The project deals with the elaboration of a temporary urban solution for the city of Rosarno, Reggio Calabria, protagonist in the winter 2010 of a riot of the immigrants working in the orange fields against the exploitation in the fields.

The lack of house places for seasonal workers, in particular during the orange harvest in winter, and the presence in Rosarno of abandoned green spaces, mostly along the main road of the city, are two of the main problems that inspired the project that tries to combine these two with the unexploited potentialities of the industrial area near the harbour with its abandoned industries, the high quantity of container lying dismissed in the portual zone and, in the end, the possibility to make the port opened to import-export activities, and not only for transhipment.

These reasons guided the project that tries to find a common solution in the realization of living units for immigrant workers using dismissed containers that would be recovered in the industries near the harbour, today abandoned, and finally placed in the already cited green voids in Rosarno, to give a new vitality to those zones, or exported abroad.

Gioia Tauro harbour handles around 2.800.000 TEU per year and there are actually stored 11.101 containers lying unused in the portual area.

Art Container, an Italian brand that recovers containers to convert them for housing or commercial purposes, will reuse these container in order to produce the living units placing its activity in the abandoned industries of the zone making them work again placing their business. The produced living units can be finally exported by using the harbour, or in the national territory by train or trucks, or delivered to Rosarno where they will hosts the immigrants offering them a home in the period of working in Rosarno.

The units destinated to Rosarno passes through a last step in the production cycle that take place in the old paper mill, the Cartiera.

Placed in a strategic middle position between Rosarno and industrial-portual area, this space is thought to host collective activities for both citizens of Rosarno and seasonal workers: the leisure spaces are realized in order to let local people and immigrants interact and live together in order to facilitate integration of the seasonal workers, while the workshop and working areas are dedicated to the interaction between Artcontainer responsible and the future users of the living units in order to decide some design details about the housing containers.

Three abandoned green areas along the main road of Rosarno, via Nazionale,  in order to place these units, used not only for hosting seasonal worker’s living places, but also services for the local community. The first one, located near the city center, since the area is already equipped with facilities and due to lack of cultural services, has been planned to place container units adhibited to library and internet cafè in order to enhance integration between seasonal workers and citizens.

The second area, in front of the railway station has been tought as welcoming area for immigrants, who mainly arrive by train during the harvest period, locating an infopoint and a rental service for lodgings, with the aim of managing the assignation of living units.

The third one has been thought as a market place since its nearness to the boundary of the town and to Contrada Bosco with its agricultural fields. Local farmers can sell their products exploiting the nearness to the big commercial retails and having the interplay between large and little scale distribution. Moreover this place is more functional as a market space confronted with the actual area located in Piazza Valarioti, at the top of Rosarno hill.



Restoration and commutation in museum of the building Istituto Marchiondi Spagliardi designed by Vittoriano Viganò in Baggio, Milano

A.Y. 2010 / 2011   semester 2

Prof. Andrea Canziani

The project concerns the restoration and the re-functionalization of the IMS building, Istituto Marchiondi Spagliardi, in order to host new permanent and temporary exhibition spaces suitable for modern and contemporary art works.

Designed by Vittoriano Viganò between 1953 and 1957 and nowadays considered the only example of Le Corbusierian Brutalism in Milano, the IMS has been recognized by the international critics as a masterpiece of modern architecture.

The main objectives of the restoration project of the Marchiondi have been the respect and the care for the authenticity of the physical materials, of the singularity and of the uniqueness of the material heritage, the perpetuation of the life of the original concrete as far as possible, through a respectful use and a minimum integration of new resources. The preservation of the material is one of the main objectives since their identity is one of the peculiar features of the building.

This last consists of a structure with fair face reinforced concrete without finishing, with evident traces of the formworks. The concrete frame in not only the structural element, but also the main architectonical character.

The use of the plasters, however, is very important since it expresses the energy and the meaning of the project, which are carried by both the rough concrete and the colorful plasters.

In contrast with the natural expression of the fair face concrete there is (or was) the artificial brightness of the strong colors used for the plasters, for the steel frame of the windows and for the floors. The main tones are the primary colors, yellow, red, blue, even if they have been integrated during the years by other secondary such as the light green.

In order to carry out a restoration project, the decay factors have been analyzed: the external ones suche as weathering, chemical and physical processes, but also vandalism acts, besides the alterations produced in the building because of the functional changes occurred during the years untill the abandon in 1997.

Besides the investigation and after going deep in the dynamics in which the construction incurred during time, an analysis phase have been deeply carried out about the IMS, in order to understand the architectonic characteristics, the structural system, the materials, that have been the basis for the mapping of the decay. The photographic report on the building carried out during the survey have been an important mean to individuate the decay conditions.

Combining these two elements, have been possible to produce a reliable and conscious map of the decay for each material (concrete, bricks, mortar, iron, plaster, clinker and linoleum) on the base of the ICOMOS-ISCS and UNI-NORMAL 11182 regulations.

The restoration proposal have been put forward following the standards theoretically defined by Alois Riegl and the value scale that He produced, in order to evaluate in a conscious manner the building and operate aware choices to modify or preserve the components of the project. Obviously, not every value was applicable to the study case, and in some cases some conflicts emerged making us operating a “priority choice” about the preservation, restoration or modification decisions.

Once defined the intervention guidelines on the real building, a functional analysis have been carried out in order to establish, on the base of the above mentioned values, which where the possible modifications to apply to adapt the building to the new function that requires exhibition spaces and services areas different from the original ones.

During the project a choice in terms of paths settings and exhibition spaces, contextually to the selection of art works to exhibit in relation to the existing spaces and to the history of the building.



Urban grafting: a new space for art in Milano, project for a museum in Porta Volta, Milano

A.Y. 2010 / 2011   semester 2

Prof. Cino Zucchi

The site of the project, once part of the ancient “Mura Spagnole” system of defence walls around the city, is located between viale Pasubio on the North, Piazza 25 Aprile on the East, viale Francesco Crispi on the South and via Alessandro Volta on the West. Its western side is adjacent with one of the two remaining gate pavilions of Porta Volta on the axis the Monumentale cemetery.

The complex consists of a main building hosting permanent contemporary art collections, together with other related facilities such as offices, temporary exhibition galleries, workshops and conference rooms, a cafeteria and a bookshop plus an atrium and circulation spaces.

The project includes a detailed design of the public open spaces adjoining the building and open-air thematic gardens or courts to host exhibitions and cultural events.

The building is conceinved as two apparently different buildings, homogeneous in the elevations, that are divided by a stair/ramp that connects the two sides of the lot, the main square and the green park, contestual to the project. This ramp conduces to the entrance of the museum, at level +4.00 meters, where besides the reception, there are other functions, such as the labporatories and the conference hall, where the public can have access without entering in the museum and also during the closing time of the same.

A big stair in a double height space brings to the lower level, as well as the catwalk on the other side of the reception, suspended in the temporary exhibition hall, allowing the public to experience the art space from another perspective. In the lower level, besides the already cited temporary exhibition space, there are a book shop, a cafeteria, both located adjacent to the street and to the park in order to have access from the outside, and three art foundations that host Panza di Biumo, Lucio Fontana and Arturo Schwartz collections. 

The three foundations have different peculiarities, in particular in the lightning system according to the necessity of the exhibitions.

The ramp outside, connecting the upper level to the park is conceived as a sculpture path, where pieces of art are exhibited to arrive also into the green spaces of the same park.

The outer shell of the building is realized as an introverted entity, according to the necessity of a museum, with a severe control of the light. This last issue has been particularly focused in the temporary space, where the ceiling is realized with large beams that module the light with the differences in the height, avoiding the direct illumination of the art works.



A project to make the University Campus of Politecnico di MIlano a better place for students and a more open reality to the city

A.Y. 2011 / 2012   semester 2

Prof. Remo Dorigati

The project is part of the project “Campus Sostenibile” in Milano that is a project promoted by the Milan Polytechnic and the University of Milan to transform the university district in a part of town endowed with exemplary quality of life and environmental sustainability.

The Campus relates it self to cultural polarities spread over the city. Just connecting all the functions it is possible to reach the goal of a Campus not closed into its own boundaries. Through an opening-up of the academi cactivities and showing them to the city, the transbordering of the Campus toward the city itself will happen. At the campus level there are smaller poles of attraction that are included into a local cultural network .

The project was born from the necessity of reconnecting the two separate levels, at different height, where the two campuses of Architecture (Campus Bonardi) and Engineering (Campus Leonardo) have been distributed with their buildings during the years.

The enphasis is then on the interaction between the two levels in order to facilitate integration between the two campuses and between students and neighbourhood.

This aim has been reached throug the enlargement of Architecture library and the exploitation of the spaces underneath the actual path of the tram. These areas underground host different functions that tend to the outside through the alternation between courts and towers that explode from the ground lifting and distributing in height the functions. These are not only dedicated to the students but also to the city in order to open the University to its neighbourhood.

The towers are realized taking into consideration sustainability aspects of energy savings and passive heating/cooling, in order to improve the whole campus performance.



High rise building in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Project of a skyscraper for offices and residential functions.

A.Y. 2011 / 2012   semester 2

Technische Universiteit Eindhoven and Graduation Thesis

The requirements of the project concern the design of a multi-functional high-rise building with a minimum height of 160 m in Eindhoven, in the Central Business District of the city, near to the railway station. The building is aimed to host different functions, such as shopping spaces, parking, offices and apartments for residential purpose.

Because of its location in the city center and the present surrounding buildings, high-rise development is desired in this site. The project consists of a gross floor area of 35.000 to 45.000 m2. This is developed, according to the assignments, with a 3-level parking, underthe ground level, also useful to reach a depth closer to the compact ground for the foundations.

The first 4 levels are dedicated to the shopping facilities, as well as to other public functions, such as a gym and a restaurant. The access to this area is connected and made a whole with the square developed together with the project in order to make easily accessible and recognizable the commercialpublic area of the building.

The 17 levels above are occupied by offices, which have an independent distribution system, separated from the one that distributes the residential apartments that are located in the last 17 levels. The choices about the distribution of the function in such way have been guided by the analysis of the context. The commercial part is inserted in the public path at the ground level, in continuity with the other shopping areas of the surrounding (i.e. Piazza, shops under the tunnel, shops in the adjacent lot), the office spaces are located where the building is more exposed to the traffic noise, due to the elevated streets and rails, and in a position easier to reach for the public, the apartments are, then, located on the top in order to grant privacy and quiet.

The chioce concerning the shape of the building was inspired by some existing projects based on the same principles, with the floors moved respect to each others.

The floors have a similar shape, different in dimension according to the function, and becoming smaller as the building rises. The form of the floors is the same for each floor, and is rotated, repeating the same rithm, each 3 floors. The projection of each floor functions as a

shading for the lower floor’s windows. The shape of the floors derives from geometrical considerations upon the stiffness of the triangular form and the advantages that it brings according the wind direction.

The corners are rounded in order to better exploit the surface, placing service spaces.The same geometrical form is used for the central core in order to obtain more regular inner spaces, which are realized as radial subdivision of the internal ambient.

The form of the core changes in the residential part, where it becomes rectangular according to the more regular spaces of the rooms. The curvilinear form allows a fluid distribution of the public spaces in the shopping center, in continuity with the design of the outer square.

The structure is the same for the whole building with columns that runs throught the height of the tower, while the distribution system is conceived in order to be autonomous between the functions. The stairs and lifts for the office’s floors runs till the 21st floor, where the office stops, while the distribution core of the residential part reaches the top.

The distribution system is contained in the central bearing core that hosts also plants’ hollows and other service functions. The core reduces at the apartments’ level, also according to the lighter weight of the construction on the top.

The solution adopted for the facade is derived by considerations upon the aesthetical necessities and the functional needs both of offices and residential functions. The building should appear as much homogeneous as possible from the outside, without sensitive distinctions between shopping, office and residential parts of the same.

This distinction, in fact, is assigned to the dimension of the floors that decreases as the building reaches its top. Moreover, the complexity of the external geometry of the construction requires a simple solution in terms of colors and materials.

The facade consists of a glass perimeter composed by panels 1 meter wide and with a height coincident with that of the floors: in this way the floor slabs remain visible defining the different levels according to the rotation of each, and each floor has no divisions along the height. The curtain wall facades have been designed to emphasize the trend of vertical buildings and consist, for all levels, in a double skin cavity and ventilated façade, made up of cells mounted profiles of aluminum tailor-made products.

The glass have no reflective coating nor colored pigments on it. The transparence of the glass is compensated by the double facade that maintain however the privacy of the interiors. The sandwich panels consist of two glasses with high-performance thermal and acoustic screen.

In the shopping portion of the building the shop windows are transparent and light in order to let people see inside, as well as for the restaurant and the gym, in order to let people from the inside to have a panoramic view of the outside.

The office floors are enclosed by a double skin facade with a hollow space in which is contained the shading device as well as an inter-space for ventilation: the latter is just mechanical, provided by a mechanism integrated with the false ceiling. There is no necessity for natural ventilation in the offices, and then a hermetic glazed facade is a suitable solution.

In the residential part, the facade solution is more complex due to the necessity of having natural ventilation, at least in the kitchens. Of course, with a so high building a traditional window is not suitable, in particular in the residential floors which are located at the top of the structure. There is furthermore the necessity of having a solution similar to the office windows in order to maintain the homogeneity of the aesthetic result.

The solution adopted for the residential part is then a variation of the one installed in the office floors: while the external panels are the same of the lower floors, just integrated with a ventilation grid at the bottom and at the top, the internal part of the double skin facade is realized with different techniques. In particular, some of the windows are full height glasses also inside, in order to have more light in the interiors, such as in living rooms, some others are realized with a wall railing 1 meter high, in particular in those rooms, such as in the bedrooms, that need more privacy, in particular during the night when lights evidence what’s inside. When the internal walls intersect the facade, a solid wall is substituted to the internal glass panel.

For the dimensioning of the floor slabs BubbleDeck thecnology has been chosen: BubbleDeck is a reinforced concrete deck, consisting of factorymade bubble lattice - balls integrated with reinforcement-meshes. The BubbleDeck floor system is a hollow deck with span in two directions, in which plastic balls serves the purpose of eliminating concrete that has no carrying effect.

The dominant advantage of a Bubbledeck slab is that it uses 30-50% less concrete than normal solid slabs. The HDPE bubbles replace the non-effective concrete in the center of the section, thus reducing the dead load of the structure by removing unused, heavy material. Decreased concrete material and weight also leads to less structural steel since the need for reinforcement diminishes. The building foundations can be designed for smaller dead loads as well.

Compared to a solid deck of same height, the weight of the finished floor is 35 % lower, but still with the exact same strength. An indication of span is 40 times the deck-thickness in both directions; cantilevers app. 10 times the deck thickness. Due to the lower dead weight of the slab and its two-way spanning action, load-bearing walls become unnecessary. BubbleDeck is also designed as a flat slab, which eliminates the need for support beams and girder members.

As a result, these features decrease some of the structural requirements for the columns and foundations. Using this product was fitting with the necessities due to the irregular floors shape and the necessity of having no beams and then flexible two-way slabs.

The main part of the project consisted of the structural calculation for the dimensioning of the centrale core (mainly dimensioned for the lateral wind load according to the local laws), of the floor slabs and the vertical structural system (vertical gravity loads) and of the foundations (rotation due to horizontal wind load, gravity loads).

All the calculations and the verifications have been done according to Eurocodes.

Some aspects of the project has been parametrized in order to reach the optimization, for instance, of passive shading. The parametrization of the project has been pursued through the Rhinoceros plugin Grasshopper. A furthermore improvement of the same has been done by making use of Galapagos, a platform for Grasshopper useful for the optimization of the parameters defined in the latter and for researching for the best solution given a defined aim.

The approach is methodological rather that resolutory in order to establish the most convenient, or at least so considered, procedure and set of parameters to reach the intended goal.