The Dublin based architectural practice Grafton Architects was founded by Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara in 1978. Not long ago, in 2008 they realised the new building for the private Università Luigi Bocconi which hosts most of the research centers and institutes. When you pass the imposing monolith you will notice its beautiful materiality. The facade is constructed in a robust material, Ceppo, the local stone of Milan.
“The idea was to make two worlds, one hovering over the other, with the space of the city flowing between. We took the public space of the through the building bringing with it the stone floor of Milan.This opens the university to the life of the city. The building feels like a city in miniature.
At the most public corner we made a ‘window’ to Mila. The aula magna occupies this corner asserting a symbolic presence and a register of the prestigious status of the University. The widened pavement forms a new urban space, which reaches out to the city and beckons the visitor into the heart of the interior.
The university is designed as a ‘place of exchange’ and Il Broletto, the medieval market building in the centre of Milan, was a reference point.”
“In order to make a grand space we thought about the research offices as beams of space, suspended to form a grand canopy, which filters light to all levels. The offices form an inhabited roofscape. The underground world is solid, dense and carved.
This floating canopy allows the space of the city to overlap with the life of the university. Allows internal and external public spaces to merge.”
“For both architectural and environmental reasons the Aula Magna and the Meeting Room volumes are expressed as solids, either embedded and rising out of the ground as is the case with the Aula, or cantilevered and floating over the street as is the case with the Meeting Rooms. This solid edge forms a microclimate giving protection against solar gain from the west together with acoustic protection to the north. The strategy of the labyrinth of courtyards provides natural ventilation and natural light to all of the offices and to some of the public spaces below. A deep study of lighting levels coordinated with design of window systems and dimensions of glazed opening providing limited glare and solar gain with max light to the offices. Opening windows in each office. Artificial lighting can be modified accordingly with the external lighting levels. All the Energy for the heating system is provided by a ground source heat pump that uses the water table heat and has zero emission in the atmosphere.”