The Gonzaga Institute, one of the oldest private schools in Milan, from its foundation in 1906, has always considered the needs of the students and times. The school structure has evolved over the years, acquiring new spaces for learning activities and sports. It is in this context that the design of the new wing inserts itself. Recently completed, the school now offers a new sports center and conference hall, large outdoor spaces, and a multi-story car park. The facilities are open to students and the city at large.
The courtyard is the heart of the school, the neuralgic center, both physically and functional wise, around which revolves the scholastic organism. The three new volumes overlook the courtyard and complete the fourth side. A low construction hides the car park access ramp. A long narrow glass building contains the new distribution system thereby resolving the complex connections between the various functions.
Finally, a translucent volume contains sports facilities, swimming pool and a sizable gym, which hosts official basketball and volleyball games. One singular element, the independent entrance to the new sport complex that opens onto Via Settembrini for the public, formally externalizes this radical transformation.
The partial transformation of a low volume, located to one side of the lot, led to the realization of the school's assembly hall, which takes the place of the present day school gym. The entrance on Via Settembrini also serves this new function.
Below the courtyard, on the other hand, a four-story underground car park, accessible from via Settembrini and independent from school grounds operations, benefits in part the school, but for the most part the surrounding neighborhood.
The two elements, car park and sports complex, are structurally independent for security purposes; the reduced availability of space and compliance with the neighboring lots were the reasons behind this choice. The glass façade is structural; the thick vertical partition is, in fact, a supporting system for the distribution volume floor slabs. The Vierendel beams host locker rooms below and the metal structure covering the car park ramp is self-supporting.
Photo credits: ORCH