The brief of 45,000 square metres of office and research space, and a theatre for 1000 people was seen as an opportunity for the Luigi Bocconi University to make a space at the scale of the city. To this end we built at the scale of the site, 50m x 150m. Inside, our building is thought of as a large market hall, acting as a filter between the city and the university.
The northern edge of the site fronts onto the artery of Viale Bligny, with the clatter of trams, the rush of buses, general traffic, people passing. It addresses the throbbing urban life of Milan and weaves into the mesh of the city. This frontage becomes the architectural opportunity to have a 'window' to Milan, a memorable image to confirm the important cultural contribution that the Bocconi University plays in the life of this city. For this reason, the public space of the aula magna occupies this frontage, asserting a symbolic presence and a register of the prestigious status of the University.
This building is set back from the Viale Bligny and Via Rontgen edges to make a public space of 18m x 90m inspired by the space forward of Hospital Maggiore. It has a much larger frontage, of approximately 200m, creating a vibrant socially active edge to a building which inside is a maze of secret cloistered courtyards and walkways. The widened pavement and new urban space acts as bridge, the 'Social Lebensraum' and keeps the city at a respectful distance. This new deep 'finger' of space reaches out to the city and beckons the visitor into the heart of the interior. This public space continues into the building, bringing with it its stone surface, the floor of the city.
In order to make this grand place of exchange 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 which is generally 3/4 floors deep. 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.
The project is now completed.