Mac9 - Zurich Insurance Company Italian Headquarters
The new headquarters of Zurich Italia are inserted in the master plan for the former Carlo Erba area, once used for industrial production. Its activity is substantially confined within the block, physically fenced off from the city and not traversable. The opportunity to open up this perimeter and to make the fabric of the city flow into it has heavily conditioned every design choice made with regard to the building: the entire settlement is conceived as permeable, an integral part of the park; the public interior of the area as a space not just of arrival but also of passage, where the communal public space is hybridized with the private.
The base is designed as part of the landscape, passing fluidly through the volumes above, linking the different levels of the existing structures and integrating the spaces to be used as an archive as well as for those functions in closer contact with the street, in a complex system of paths leading to the large empty space at the center, a garden with tall trees overlooked by the inner courtyard.
A gigantic order of pillars supports directly the first floor, which consists of the raised plaza, a large terrace facing onto the garden. It houses the community functions of the company, junction of the paths of circulation to the main and secondary clusters of offices.
The volumes that house the offices are designed to optimize the portion of space set aside for distribution in relation to the usable area.
The highest block to the west faces onto the large scale of the park and represents the main façade: a reception facility roofed with a geodetic structure concludes the volume like a lantern toward the center of the city, evoking the idea of an urban landmark and a place from which to observe.
The building is a typological hybrid of a building with a base and a building on stilts, a layout that combines the incisiveness and contained volumes of ribbed blocks with the calm of the inner courtyard and the lightness of a raised and transparent object with the ruggedness of the large and suspended natural object.