Architectural project by Arch. Giuliano Venturelli
Lighting project by Arch. Giuliano Venturelli and SIMES
Photography by Mario Bertani
The planning requirements
The building under renovation consists of two units: a central administrative one and a peripheral and more operative one. While the peripheral part had already been restructured in 2007, the bulk of the work concerned the headquarters with the aim of complying with the prerequisites required by the ARC standards.
Before tackling the design phase, it is always necessary to carefully examine the constraints to which the restoration is subject to. The challanges can be of various kinds: budgetary, regulatory, functional or environmental. When analysing the building it immediately became clear that the amount of work needed on the structure so to comply to the ARC normatives would require an important financial investment. Therefore, it was decided to concentrate only on the headquarters, and to move within it the more operational functions that were the heart of the structure. By doing so, the spaces subject to restoration have been reduced considerably, allowing a significant cost savings in terms of compliance.
A further aspect concerns the landscape constraints: the Surveillance Centre is located below the Hills of Sant'Anna in the center of Brescia, for which a committee has been called to evaluate the architectural impact of the project, allowing the designer to move only within specific design parameters. Another aspect to consider was linked to functionality and logistics: the building is configured as a paramilitary structure with defined paths, a fortress of steel and reinforced concrete with small windows similar to embrasures, designed out of its need to "Protect" the activities carried out within the company from indiscreet onlookers.
The concept of military architecture
The structure of the building is strongly linked to the theme of military architecture, so the design language reminds us of a defensive fortified structure: for example, the corridor that links the two buildings reminds us of a drawbridge, acting as a physical junction between two structures. The theme of the fortified openings is a second aspect that recalls the concept of military architecture: the staff working inside should not be visible from the outside; the use of such openings with narrow slots allow to achieve this goal and together with the use of a protective film it allows the light to filter through while concealing the silhouettes of the staff inside. The third theme of a military nature is one of the cladding: the external ‘skin’ of the building acts as a metal armour, securing the functions that take place inside and carrying out an important fire-fighting and bullet-proof function.
The lighting project
Given such premises, it was necessary to illuminate the architecture respecting the idea underlying the project and making it safe but at the same time also graceful. The activities, which take place 24 / 7, must find a correct and functional lighting. To provide the right illumination along the walkways our Zip downlight and Reef bollard have been utilised: the downlights illuminate the walkway under the bridge in a functional manner, while the Reef Bollard runs along the path up to the entrance.