Palazzo Grossi, is the recent completed project by Italian architectural firm HOF for the new head office for the Municipality of Perugia in a former school building.
The project of the conversion of a former school building in the historical city centre of Perugia into the new head office of the Municipality of Perugia had as a primary objective to meet the many requirements that the new use involved without twisting neither the building’s original typological structure, nor its rooted image in the collective memory.
A series of strategic operations characterise the project:
- The reorganisation of the entrances (indicated with panels in corten-steel),
- The improvement of the external facades (renovated and in the most damaged parts restored),
- The extension with externally low visual impact (a new high-tech volume, planted inside a low-tech inner courtyard),
- The adoption of bioclimatic systems (based on the integration of a curtain wall with a basin filled with water and coloured glass fragments), and
- The use of symbolism (consisting of a number of art works spread around the building).
But what most characterises the new head office of the Municipality of Perugia is its double nature (rooted in the tradition on the outside and outstretched towards the future on the inside), which intends to celebrate the balance between tradition and innovation that always has distinguished Perugia. It’s not by chance that the graphic decoration of the large glass wall in the entrance gallery, consisting of characters from the Etruscan alphabet and citations from the “cippo perugino”, made by the graphic designer Alfred Hohenegger, and the segreant griffin, consisting of 224 bars in galvanised steel and 2072 small spheres in red ceramic, made by the designer Riccardo Blumer, express that the roots of the Perugian civil community, although they are ancient, are perfectly vital.
The building’s original courtyard type was conserved as, except for representing a precious historical heritage, it guarantees good working environment allowing direct ventilation and illumination. The inner courtyard was reduced in size to give place for the new inserted volume and divided into two levels: a large entrance atrium on the ground level (in continuity with the external public spaces) and a green roof on the first level (a “secret” garden creating a pleasant environment). The functions that have most direct contact with the public are placed on the ground level while the other functions are distributed on the different levels. Vertical communication is concentrated into one primary block (placed in the south wing and equipped with a staircase and two elevators) and two secondary blocks (consisting of two already existing staircases) in the north wing.
The project takes advantage of the existing natural resources instead of abusing artificial clime control technologies, although it still satisfies different standards for energy consumption limitations. Inside the courtyard the new volume is covered with a curtain wall that, together with a basin filled with water and coloured glass fragments, and the green roof, form a combined system for bioclimatic control with the purpose of optimising the well-being inside the building. The system is capable of improving the air quality (by reducing particulate matter) and to contribute to the cooling of the building during the summer (amplified by the evaporation effect of the basin).
+ Project credits / data
Architectural design: HOF (Paolo Belardi, Alessio Burini, Alessio Boco) with Massimo Boco and Roberto Fioroni
Collaborators: Gina Comodini, Davide Germini, Benedetta Papa, Carl Volckerts
Location: Perugia, Italy
Photography: Pietro Savorelli, Florence, Italy
Chronology: 2003 competition, 2004-2006 project, 2007-2009 construction
Client: Municipality of Perugia
Project manager: Piergiorgio Monaldi
Consultants: studio Baliani (structural), Progter (mechanical), studio GZ (electrical), Geoter Ambinete (geological) Department of Applied Biology of the University of Perugia (greenery), Santucci & Partners (econimical-financial), Abacus (environmental), Sergio Mugianesi (acoustics)
Historical research: Scriptorium
Main contractor: Calzoni
Construction site management: studio Baliani
Dimensions: plot area – 1600 m2, floor area – 6835 m2,
Graphic and art works: Riccardo Blumer (G®IFO), Alfred Hohenegger (Signa Volant and Uccelli), Antonio Paoloni (Grifo Magno), Paolo Tramontana (Ombre), Carl Volckerts (ex-Pascoli)
+ About HOF
Studio HOF (Paolo Belardi, Alessio Burini, Alessio Boco, Simone Bori, Valeria Menchetelli) is a laboratory of ideas aimed to gather its members’ designing experiences and to explore themes and style of contemporary architecture with an experimental approach. The studio originates from “HOF associati”, founded by Belardi and Burini in 1987. The collective and/or individual works and projects have been awarded with mentions and recognitions in occasion of architecture awards and are published in various magazines. The studio collaborates with Matteo Scoccia and Carl Volckerts. The logistic organisation and the graphic computing are coordinated by Gina Comodini.