Grafton completes educational landmark
Ireland's Grafton Architects have completed Milan's Universita Luigi Bocconi. The northern edge of the site fronts onto the artery of Viale Bligny, with the clatter of trams, the rush of busses, general traffic, people passing. It addresses the throbbing urban life of Milan, weaves into the mesh of the city. This frontage becomes the architectural opportunity to have a ‘window’ to Milan, a memorable image to confirm the important cultural contribution that the Bocconi University plays in the life of this city. For this reason, the public space of the aula magna occupies this frontage, asserting a symbolic presence and a register of the prestigious status of the University.
The building is set back from the Viale Bligny & Via Roentgen edges to make a public space 18m x 90m inspired by the space forward of Hospital Maggiore.This new deep ‘finger’ of space reaches out to the city and beckons the visitor into the heart of the interior. This public space continues into the building, bringing with it it’s stone surface, the floor of the city.
The underground accommodation is treated as an erupting landscape which offers support to the inhabited light filters above. Spatially this underground world is solid, dense and carved. We tried to establish a continuity between the ‘landscape’ of the city and the ‘made landscape’ of this undercroft.
The external wall to the sunken Aula Magna reaches the full height of the building with the upper level offices inhabiting it’s roofscape / attic. The full bulk and scale of this great room ‘the embedded boulder’ sits directly on the street edge and is the anchor for the totality of the building.