Category: Headquarters


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Project team: Thom Mayne, FAIA (principal), Tim Christ (project manager), Chandler Ahrens, Linda Chung, Graham Ferrier Rolando Mendoza, Marty Summer, Ted Kane, Ben Damron, Paul Gonzales, Natalia Traverso Caruana, Chris Warren, Josh Barandon (project assistant)
Director of work: IN.AR.CO, Gianni De Cecco, Giulio Gentilli
Interior design: Morphosis with Geza
Structural engineers: Bruce Gibbon with IN.ARCO
Mechanical engineers: Erin McConahey with IN.ARCO
General contractor: Cesi Cooperativa, Edil-Strade Imolesi S.r.l. Imola
Built area: 15,900m2
Total cost: € 23.500.000,00

The deconstructionist spirit seems not to have abandoned Thom Mayne and the Morphosis Studio in Los Angeles.
On the site of the General Management offices of the Carinthian Institute of Credit Hypo Bank Italia located at Feletto Umberto, emerging forms cut into the surroundings like scalpels; forms that design a structural morphology sensitively grafted onto a territory designed by the track of the superhighway and by the existing managerial department.

The insertion of the project into a territory of connection destined to increase in value is motivated by the incremented economic-financial value of the bank’s capital, and for this reason it assumes the status of icon, well interpreting the “monumental value” of architecture – to use a term coined by Guido Nardi - requested by the clients.
Such a fusion between architecture and a company has already been experimented in the offices of Klagenfurt and Zagabria, where the same institute commissioned the project of the architect Thom Mayne, founder of the Morphosis Studio in Los Angeles and winner of the 2005 Pritzker Award. The project is articulated in a composition of low, elongated volumes, which splinter off from the central body that rises in the landscape for eight floors above ground, with a basement floor to be used for parking and for technical facilities.

The composition of spaces and volumes follows three basic concepts which range from analysis of social life in the building to definition of the functional program (work, recreation, entertainment, etc.) designed to favor interpersonal relationships, through a study of the connective path traced on the horizontal and the vertical by the connections flowing into the network of footbridges, gangways, stairs and elevators, to arrive at the office area as a place of productive wellbeing and gratification for its users.

The structure includes the bank headquarters, the managerial area with an archive, a congress centre with a main hall and three secondary rooms, a communal swimming pool with two sections, spaces reserved to the public and complementary rooms, including dressing rooms and the reception desk, a fitness centre, and a kindergarten with playground.
The two main facades of the General Management building are entirely glazed; at the ends of the east and west wings are the safety stairs.
On the north façade, at the center, the meeting room of double height (sixth and seventh floors) projects outward, affording a splendid view of the mountains. The velocity and dynamism suggested by the veil-like structure has inspired movements of earth and grassy clumps in dialogue with escarpments of 30° slope which blossom in blue, the corporate identity color of Hypo Alpe Adria Area, an effect enhanced by the lighting at night. The project, selected by competition, was conceived by Karin Elzenbaumer, Sebastian Gretzer and Veronica Reiner of the Freilich Studio in Merano.

From the technological viewpoint, the building has a reinforced concrete bearing structure with the presence of stiffening sectors and bracing, developing in the shape of a sail inclined 14° from the vertical axis of the south and north walls. The vertical pillars are built of reinforced concrete up to the sixth floor, while the inclined pillars and all of those on the seventh floor are built of steel sections.

The floors are built of trellised slabs of the “predalles” type with polyesterol lightening elements, with the exception of some minor parts, where for geometric and structural requisites, monolithic slabs have been poured onsite. On the seventh storey, part of the floor has been built of steel and glass, for architectural reasons.
In the building, the demand for great flexibility has been satisfied by Geza “horizontally”, according to an exact relationship between desks, islands, data networks and light points, and vertically by allowing rapid changes on the floors through a rational system of moving partitions and containers.
A fundamentally important stage consisted of identifying areas of support and service to the office.

The seventh and last floor, which houses the top management and the representation rooms, has been approached by the architects in a somewhat different manner, keeping unaltered the concepts of rationality, rigor and modularity which, above all, ideally represent the corporate objectives of the client.
These same concepts have also determined the choice of finishing materials for the interiors, in which the white plaster of the slanting partitions contrasts with the grey of the exposed smooth concrete of the structural elements and of the raised flooring in Pietra of Bedonia porcelain tile, from the collection New Stone of GranitiFiandre.

On the eastern side is the top management area with the managerial offices, the secretaries and interpreters (some of whom are at the reception desk), the waiting rooms and the meeting rooms. On the western side is the great Board room, with annexed to it the foyer, the mini-meeting rooms, facilities for guests, the kitchen, and an indoor and outdoor dining room.
Thanks to Geza‘s office space planning project, it has been possible, over the total 16.000 m2 of office space, to insert 80 more workposts that had been initially planned by the client.

Rossella Mombelli
From Materia n°56 - TRANSPARENCIES


Year: 2006
Client: Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank S.p.A Italia
Studio: Morphosis, Thom Mayne, FAIA Geza, Stefano Gri, Piero Zucchi
Products used: Pietra di Bedonia

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