A systemic architectural and technological approach: custom aluminum solutions by Schüco Italia for the new Urban Campus of Bocconi University in Milan

A project with the city and for the city

Designed by the Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the SANAA studio, the new Urban Campus of the Bocconi University in Milan is inserted into the urban fabric of the city as part of the redevelopment of the former Centrale del Latte. An area that includes several dedicated buildings: the dormitory of the new Residence Castiglioni with 300 seats; the teaching and administrative center of the new SDA Bocconi headquarters (made up of the Master, Executive, Office buildings); a sports and leisure center with an Olympic-size swimming pool, open to the city, as well as the green area. After all, the extension of the campus is not intended to be a simple architectural project, but a real landscape intervention.

Balconies, arcades and courtyards are inspired by Milanese architecture, often equipped with internal green courtyards in relation to each other. Paths that touch and allow the passage between the various buildings and through the park for students and teachers. Continuous balconies develop along the perimeter of each floor, shielded by a corrugated metal mesh, which mark the curvilinear course of the building, communicating with the city of which the traditional railing houses are mentioned. A fundamental relationship is that with Milan, which can be found in another typical element of Milanese architecture: the internal courtyards, conceived and designed with a distinctive character, which make up a homogeneous overall project.

Schüco Italia's role in the façade engineering process

Technical skills and customized solutions have allowed Schüco Italia to create the campus envelope. A two and a half year process, during which the Project Management, Custom Engineering and SAP departments (technical figures specialized in design support) of the company spoke with the SANAA studio, interpreting needs and requests through custom solutions for windows and doors in aluminum.

A façade engineering consultancy from the preparatory study (development of typical sections, static calculations for the dimensioning of the profiles) to the preliminary tests (thermal checks and estimation of the performance of the facades for the preparation of the specifications) up to the development of custom aluminum solutions. The company spoke directly with Progetto CMR, an executive architecture studio, and with the local architect Costa Zanibelli, supporting the window fabrication partners Gualini and AlMan2000 to coordinate and follow the production of non-standard profiles and accessories.

To ensure the alternation of curved and straight glazing, positive and negative angles that rhythm the facades, Schüco aluminum systems from the catalog were chosen, adapted to the design contingencies through a process of extreme customization, which led to the engineering of over twenty new ones. articles. With the scientific support of the Politecnico di Milano, the buildings were reproduced to scale and subjected to analyzes to verify the pressure on the external skin. The tests made it possible to identify the actual pressure on the different elevations and therefore to correctly size the support brackets, the characteristics of the facade profiles and the thickness of the glass, optimizing the design.

Custom-made aluminum solutions

Balcony is the expanded metal mesh hooked to the floors that delimits the balconies, accessible for maintenance along the entire perimeter. The network has a solar shading function that does not block the view to the outside and optimizes the entry of natural light. Behind it develops the Schüco FWS 50 SG aluminum horizontal ribbon curtain wall, inserted between the floor and the floor on the external perimeter. Three new upright profiles were designed, 115 mm, 155 mm and 185 mm deep by 50 mm wide to comply with the dimensional ratios required by SANAA in a minimalist perspective of formal cleanliness of the lines. The system also characterizes the facades of the internal courtyards. On the façade, AWS 75 BS.HI aluminum systems have been inserted for double-leaf French windows, with fixed central upright and internal hinged opening.

The ground floor is the only one that is completely visible from the outside, since the expanded metal mesh ends on the first floor. To enhance its sinuosity and obtain the maximum essentiality and geometric rigor, the horizontal ribbon facade has been customized. To allow the insertion of the entrance doors into the facade lattice, a customization of the Schüco FWS 60 aluminum system was developed, so that it could accommodate the ADS 75 HD.HI (Heavy Duty) aluminum system for doors. . A performing solution, ideal above all for public buildings as in this case, since it offers large opening widths and durability even in the case of high frequency of use.

Photo credits: Philippe Ruault Photographe

Schüco aluminum systems details photos: Filippo Fortis