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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Azzano-San Paolo Master Plan in Bergamo, Italy by Asymptote Architect

 
May 27th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Asymptote Architect

Bergamo, Italy—
Asymptote Architecture’s design for the Azzano-San Paolo Master Plan, a 100,000-square-meter commercial development, was recently unveiled at the MAPIC international retail real estate conference in Cannes, France. The site for the new master plan is an area south of Orio al Serio International Airport near the historic city center of Bergamo in Northern Italy. The master plan, as conceived by Asymptote, is a meandering and intriguingly articulated collection of surfaces that seem to have evolved naturally from the adjacent farmlands and calls for powerful, yet subtle, new architectural works placed on an urban plinth. Overall, the Azzano-San Paolo Master Plan is a signal for the possibility of such developments to be aesthetically compelling and architecturally dynamic.

Front View

  • Architect: Asymptote Architect – Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture
  • Name of Project: Azzano-San Paolo Master Plan
  • Location: Bergamo, Italy
  • Client: Stilo Group, Bergamo, Italy
  • Site Area: 110,000 sq. m.
  • Building Area: 120,000 sq. m.
  • Program: Retail, hotel, planetarium, multiplex, health clinic
  • Date: 2008

The manifestation of the Italian rural landscape in built form is an elegant solution to the real and commercial need for mid- to large-scale development projects such as this one.  The site is divided into various precincts accommodating cinemas, a planetarium, shopping and retail centers, medical facilities, hotels and office complexes, altogether forming a balanced and harmonic symbiotic relationship to the surrounding airport, roadways, rural context and already completed developments nearby. The surfaces of the master plan climb in subtle slopes upwards, allowing for the programs beneath to be adequately planned and programmed to include places to walk and enter the various buildings from above, and to be used as open public spaces, amphitheaters and cafés that are open to the sky and surroundings.

Fountain

Beneath these planar surfaces are urban spaces influenced by the great Italian tradition of colonnaded public streets such as those found in Bergamo and especially Bologna. These “undercuts” provide sheltered, dignified promenades, public sidewalks, retail frontage and so on, while also providing a means of defining public streets versus the private realm, a process, through architecture, of humanizing the streetscape and allowing people to experience a new and modern urban environment that, although drawn from the past, is firmly and precisely centered on the future.

Exterior View

The project’s clean lines, articulated roofs capes and surfaces, dignified public streets and parks, as well as the playful nature of the architectural forms that spring from the planar surfaces, all comprise a new approach to this scale of development in areas and locales within the Italian context where people need a sense of place and purpose that is not solely tied to the past and its powerful presence in this country, but provide a glimpse of a future where efficiency, commerce and culture comingle in a dignified place that is wholly new and progressive, without being empty and devoid of meaning.

Aerial View

Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture

Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture are leading architectural practitioners of their generation whose innovative work and academic contributions have received international acclaim. Since Asymptote’s founding in 1989, the firm has been at the forefront of technological innovation in the field of architecture and design and garnered praise for visionary building designs, large-scale master plans, innovative interiors, art installations, virtual reality environments and object design.

Exterior View

In addition to the Azzano-San Paolo Master Plan Asymptote is currently working on a broad range of commissions at sites in the United States, Europe and Asia including the World Business Center Solomon Tower in Busan, South Korea, a skyscraper that will be among the tallest in Asia at 560m; a luxury residential building in New York city that is near completion; two contemporary art pavilions commissioned by The Guggenheim Foundation for the Cultural District of Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi; and The Yas Hotel, a luxury hotel integral to the new Formula 1 raceway circuit in Abu Dhabi that will open in October 2009. In 2000 Hani Rashid represented the United States at the Venice Biennale of Architecture and in 2004 Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture were awarded the Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts given in recognition of exceptional contributions to the progress and merging of the fields and disciplines of art and architecture.

Exterior View

AZZANO-SAN PAOLO MASTER PLAN: Design Text

Too often the Italian situation outside of historic town centers is overlooked, and little attention has been paid to role of architecture and urban planning as something more than the construction of billboards and boxes in recent years. Sprawling shopping centers and haphazard office and retail buildings find their way without purpose into small developments along highways, near airports and new town centers. This has left a strange mark on the Italian countryside as well as to the experience of it.

Azzano-San Paolo Master Plan

Asymptote’s proposal for a new master plan for an area south of Orio al Serio International Airport, located near the historic and majestic city of Bergamo in Northern Italy, calls for an intricate complex inspired by the rolling planar aspects of the region’s countryside. The master plan is a meandering and intriguingly articulated collection of surfaces that seem to have evolved naturally from the adjacent farmlands. The manifestation of the Italian rural landscape in built form is an elegant solution to the real and commercial need for mid- to large-scale development projects such as this one. The scheme calls for powerful, yet subtle, new architectural works placed on an urban plinth and pursues a quasi-urban notion of occupancy where the interior and exterior spaces are fluid and transitional from one another. Overall, the Azzano-San Paolo Master Plan is a signal for the possibility of such developments to be aesthetically compelling and architecturally dynamic.

Exterior View

The site is divided into various precincts accommodating cinemas, a planetarium, shopping and retail centers, medical facilities, hotels and office complexes, altogether forming a balanced and harmonic symbiotic relationship to the surrounding airport, roadways, rural context and already completed developments nearby. The surfaces of the master plan climb in subtle slopes upwards, allowing for the programs beneath to be adequately planned and programmed to include places to walk and enter the various buildings from above, and to be used as open public spaces, amphitheaters and cafés that are open to the sky and surroundings.

Beneath these planar surfaces are urban spaces influenced by the great Italian tradition of colonnaded public streets such as those found in Bergamo and especially Bologna. These “undercuts” provide sheltered, dignified promenades, public sidewalks, retail frontage and so on, while also providing a means of defining public streets versus the private realm, a process, through architecture, of humanizing the streetscape and allowing people to experience a new and modern urban environment that, although drawn from the past, is firmly and precisely centered on the future.

The project’s clean lines, articulated roofs capes and surfaces, dignified public streets and parks, as well as the playful nature of the architectural forms that spring from the planar surfaces, all comprise a new approach to this scale of development in areas and locales within the Italian context where people need a sense of place and purpose that is not solely tied to the past and its powerful presence in this country, but provide a glimpse of a future where efficiency, commerce and culture comingle in a dignified place that is wholly new and progressive, without being empty and devoid of meaning.

Related posts:

Contact Asymptote Architect and Asymptote Architect

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Categories: Commercial Building, Community Centre, Master Plan

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