Skyscrapers can be broken, dematerialized, interrupted and then extended again. This kind of structure must have an enormous capacity of use, being able to transform positively its surroundings. Skyscrapers do not need to be by any mean Mega Structures, despite the difficulty and the evident contradiction that appears here. Utopia isn’t necessarily the motor of creation and consolidation of any of these structures.
THE SITE: Mantova, Italy, a place with a very strong historical presence: narrow streets, churches, cobblestone. At the same time Mantova is completely inactive. There’s an important lack of activities and places to promote them.
THE PLACE: The neighbourhood of San Leonardo. The area selected is actually occupied by a group of ‘modern’ buildings facing a small Square where there is also a Church. This Square is totally in disuse, actually a cars parking.
THE CONCEPT: New concept of tower, understanding how to interact with a strong historic area, the project is located in this place specifically but is generic in its intentions. It aims to concentrate several possibilities in a very small area. Aesthetics are subordinated to interactions.The beauty of the performance. The context as a source of interaction that needs to be managed.
THE PROJECT: The mentioned ‘modern’ buildings are demolished, extending the Square and giving more importance to the Church. For keeping the spatiality of the Square the typology of the tower was adopted. But a tower alone cannot solve the problem that represents interacting with an area untouched for centuries, the project must represent a source of mobility, atmospheres, easy connections and complex experiences. The tower as a connector. The building is divided in three parts: Underground, Ground and Tower.
Underground: Pools Area. Accessed through a pavilion from the square and through the patio under the tower; new possibilities mobility.
Ground: A big Stage.
Tower: Slim, must embellish rather than disturb, 12m base and 99m tall, elegant like a Greek column.
The whole floor area is usable. Each floor (vertically connected) contains a specific function. Volumes grow from the tower, the perforated aluminium sheets contrast with the white exterior.
The Tower performs as a machine. The last floor contains solar collectors and wind turbines, the energy is accumulated in the pre-last level, here we find:
-Energy storage devices.
-Emergency system: Two cables connected to a structural apparatus, the users will hang on this element using special belts, facilitating the escape speed and security.
Big windows provide natural illumination and magnificent views. Their size and location depends on the function and the context. The needed contact with the river near the tower is achieved by the creation of the pools in the underground level and with the visuals from any level.
The tower is supported by three concrete elements; the elevators monolith is the most active factor. Due to the proportions base/height, the building is divided in two visible parts, each of them with a wide structural base.