A new building becomes the linchpin of myriad views towards Bergamo and the surrounding mountainscape. In turn, the new headquarters of the Province of Bergamo, project by Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei, offers the cityscape multiple images of itself.
The design, since its inception, had been focused on the relationship between the building, the urban fabric and the natural landscapes of the region. "The horizontal, twisting skyscraper", as the designers call it, contains height in order to establish a balanced visual reciprocity, that varies continuously, between building and context. The main structural objective was to avoid the creation of a monolithic construct which usually defines a vertical tower. The intervention, thus, distributes the functions throughout its nine floors in a spiraling manner, which follows one of the main requirements of the project in regards to vertical expansion.
The truss structural grid that characterizes the facades allows for the cantilevers and bridge-like structures that make up the spiraling form of the building. The contained length of the sides of the building is meant to contain the structure to the facade and conceive of open and flexible interior spaces. The modularity of the structural grid repeats each time the building's body rotates 90 degrees as it moves upward. The effect is that of a growth in spiral around a central courtyard on the ground floor.
"The decisive argument for every new type of architecture lies in the relationship with the surroundings, and in this particular case, the city of Bergamo," stated Andrea Maffei when asked to explain their methodology, "We did not believe that a building nearly 90 meters high in this specific location, within walking distance of the city center, was the most appropriate response for a city like Bergamo. It was clear that the new building for the headquarters of the province would have had to stand out in the urban landscape by portraying an authoritative and recognizable image, yet equally give priority to the landscape that defines the region or risk compromising the uniqueness of the location. These considerations led to the development of a 'spiraling' skyscraper. By proposing to contain vertical expansion by taking over most of the allowed competition site, the building develops the required space horizontally, ending with a building of an approximate 46.2 meters".
New Headquarters for the Province of Bergamo
November 2008 – May 2009
gross built surface: 28.543 sqm.
maximum height reached: 47,3m
steel and glass
Province of Bergamo
Andrea Maffei Architects, Milano - leading architects
Arata Isozaki & Associates, Tokyo
Attilio Gobbi, Bergamo
Catherine Mosbach, Alessandro Rocca, Bruno Gritti
Favero & Milan Ingegneria s.p.a., Mirano
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Bergamo, Italy
My Role: Architects: Arata Isozaki and Andrea Maffei