CASE STUDY

Science Campus “E. Mattei”, Former Sogesta

 

From an architectural standpoint, the “E. Mattei” building is the result of the 1970s building culture that favored prefabrication. The building’s structure, a mixture of concrete and steel, is characterized by large inoperable glazed surfaces. The extruded aluminum frames of these exterior panels are also reused as interior partition systems for the curtain walls. The building’s roofing is quite unusual since the external cladding of the steel roof trusses is made up of molded fiberglass casings. The building envelope therefore consists of a cladding system that is “lightweight” considering both the materials and architecture and its energy and acoustic performance. The technological features of the “E. Mattei” prevail. Nevertheless, the building complex attempts to interact with the surrounding territory: the residence halls’ position on a slight slope facing the valley and the presence of wide balconies next to common areas provide continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces, while the use of exposed brick walls (English bond or header bond) for long stretches of the building’s sides recalls the architectural features that mark the surrounding farmhouses.

As regards the building’s installations, indoor comfort is controlled by means of an air-cooled air conditioning system. Even though it is still almost entirely made up of its original components, when considering the present requirements of the structure, the system proves to be low in flexibility and expensive in terms of operation and management. In spite of the large glazed surfaces the considerable size of the buildings, especially in the lecture hall area, requires a constant use of artificial lighting, thus further increasing the energy bill of the complex.

As far as indoor environmental quality is concerned, there are several weaknesses regarding the difficult maintenance of the AC filters combined with the lack of passive ventilation. It should also be noted that the use of some materials, such as moquette for wall-to-wall carpeting or fiberglass for suspended ceiling soundproofing, contributes to further increasing indoor levels of pollutants.

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