27.4.2015

New Headquarters of the bank of Pisa and Fornacette

The new Headquarters of the Bank of Pisa and Fornacette, designed by architect Massimo Mariani, recently opened for business.

The building, located in Via Tosco-Romagnola in Fornacette (Italy), represents the final step in a broader urban redevelopment project the bank started in 1995 entrusting the design of its headquarters to the same architect; in 2008 it decided to build a new headquarters with a small square near the first building constructed.

The new building, a parallelepiped covering an area of around 4,500 sq m with 3 floors above ground and a basement, looks like a monolith with its metallic skin that changes depending on the atmospheric conditions. On the upper floors there are offices, and in the basement there is an auditorium with around 300 seats and a gallery for art exhibitions and events.

From the outside the volume appears extremely simplified, dotted with measured openings on three sides and only open to the outside on the main face, in a playful dialect between the desire for simplicity of the forms seen on the outside and the sophisticated experimentation of environmental quality in the interior, accomplished in the design of each detail. Built in energy class A/A+ (the equivalent of a LEED platinum), the building shows its operational core through the coloured windows that free and break up its monolithic mass, opening it to the light and allowing one’s gaze to pass through. In its interior the architecture reveals unexpected generosity in terms of air and light, as well as a lively spatial arrangement that highlights the administrative and managerial functions of the bank. Two central courtyards constitute the elements around which open, fluid and diversified working areas are arranged. The courtyards, defined by large surfaces with vertical gardens, provide the interior spaces with light and ventilation. The entire interior space created by these conditions allows the gaze to pass through it both horizontally and vertically. The main materials are gilded metal for the cladding of the monolith, multicoloured glass for the main façade, which at night transforms into a lantern, and wood and glass for the interior rooms.

In conceiving this new work Massimo Mariani brought into play the sensitivity and ideas he had developed since his education. The new headquarters of the Bank of Pisa and Fornacette manifests dialogue with the artistic research found in the teachings of Leonardo Savioli, as well as the artisan nature of the design and the unbridled expressiveness typical of the work of Remo Buti or Ettore Sottsass. In tackling this project Massimo Mariani once again reveals, with constant originality, some of the deep roots of the design culture developed in Tuscany and within the architectural faculty of Florence in the Seventies and Eighties. This work helps to describe one of the most brilliant and lesser-known paths of Italian architecture of recent decades.

Massimo Mariani Architetto. Bank of Pisa and Fornacette Administrative Headquarters from the Architecture Player on Vimeo.

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