A Soft Transformation: From Factory Hall to Technology Centre
Architect: Andrea Oliva Architetto
Location: Reggio Emilia, Italy
The Officine Reggiane industrial ground was erected in 1901 near the train station and old town. At first, airplanes were manufactured here. Later, locomotives were assembled until the late 1990s. In the 1970s, the factory employed 11,000 workers. Since 2010, the grounds have been revitalized bit by bit. This respectful transformation of the historical building corresponds to the client’s wishes.
Shed 19 is the first of three buildings being given new life as a technology centre. The three-aisled hall, which measures 2,250 m² and features an extensive skylight, will remain more or less as it is. Its massive exterior walls and framework of steel supports will preserve the memory of the structure’s former use as a factory.
The thirty-two added wooden elements have been stacked three high lengthways along the building’s axis. They stand freely and self-supporting between the steel supports on a newly created floor. The various lengths of the cross-laminated timber stalls create terraces and balconies which will offer researchers a view and a meeting place. A further advantage of these individual spaces is the possibility to control the temperature in each room, ensuring the ideal conditions for each laboratory. Neither thermal refurbishment nor heating of the entire building is required.
A new, imposing entrance, conference room, offices and an upper-storey exhibition room are located opposite the labs, on the west side of the building. The newly erected side wings extend the geometry of the roof and are attached to the main building’s technical services and sanitary installations. The roof has been completely replaced, and new skylights provide direct daylight to most of the stalls.