The design by architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp), which won first prize in an international competition, will convert a former industrial heritage building in the north of Bologna, into a modern technology park.
The factory facilities of the former tobacco monopoly, designed by the famous Italian engineer and architect Pier Luigi Nervi, will be fully modernised and converted to accommodate new functions. The additional new buildings carry the signature aspects of the listed historic buildings dating from the 1940s, in a modernised form. The technology centre will comprise an exhibition hall, laboratories, offices, a seedbed centre for research affiliated with the university, and teaching facilities such as lecture halls and university institutes.
In addition, there will be conference facilities, including hotel and service areas such as shops, a day nursery, restaurants and refectories to be established in the former power station. From the motorway exit to the city, the 110,000 sq m complex will be easily recognisable by its building, the re-designed chimney which blends perfectly with the urban environment. On the inside, the building complex is laid out around a central square at the imposing former power station. This creates four access avenues which can be flexibly designed in different construction phases.
The existing buildings are upgraded for improved energy conservation and earthquake resistance and are restored in profile and colour scheme to their former architectural aesthetics. The colour scheme will be continued at the new buildings, contrasted by the power station with its high chimney in red Bolognese brickwork.