New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic \ GEZA

• March 17, 2012

In Fagagna, a town in the province of Udine, in Northern Italy, the new headquarters and production complex for Pratic by GEZA architects Stefano Gri and Piero Zucchi has been recently inaugurated. The building demonstrates architecture’s ability to reinterpret the notion of landscape as well as to redefine the quality of industrial space.

Pratic GEZA 04 600x399 New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic \ GEZA

New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic, photo by Fernando Guerra

The inauguration for the new headquarters and production complex of Pratic, a company owned by the Orioli brothers and specialized in the design and manufacture of curtain systems, has recently taken place in Fagagna a town located in the province of Udine, in Northern Italy. The complex placed adjacent to the provincial highway that leads from Udine to Spilimbergo, was designed and built by GEZA (architects Stefano Gri and Piero Zucchi). The intervention is composed principally of: a main volume, a parallelepiped with a surface of approximately 10,000 m2 that houses the main productive core; a second volume of about 1000 m2 placed adjacent to the first but rotated 15 degrees in order to align with the highway is dedicated to the offices; a parking lot for 100 cars; a loading dock and service area of approximately 2,700 m2; a garden space of about 33,000 m2.

In addition spaces dedicated to communication, showrooms, break rooms and open communal and private areas are housed in the buildings in order to accommodate the daily activities of the workers. The complex, anchored in the industrial zone of the town, is also intimately tied to the surrounding agricultural landscape through different aspects of its design; thus ultimately forming part of the mountainscape characteristic of the region.

Pratic GEZA 09 New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic \ GEZA

New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic, photo by Fernando Guerra

SIMPLE DARK BODIES. The project is infused with a strong desire for simplicity. The dry and elemental nature of the structure, the colors and even the interaction with the landscape are testament to this principle.

Regardless of its dark and silent nature, the complex manages to become an icon for the passerby. The volume housing the offices becomes a striking sign even to those driving by on the highway, one that seeks to establish a dialogue between the concepts of stasis and movement. The production core’s more pronounced verticality is characterized by a striated façade dominated by alternating glazed surfaces and solid panels of diverse widths that are always ten meters in height. The differing dimensions of black marble stone and dark cement that make up the finish of the panels allow for a varied façade alive with the interplay of sunlight, shadow and changing atmospheric conditions.

Pratic GEZA 01 600x399 New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic \ GEZA

New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic, photo by Fernando Guerra

CANTILEVERED SHADOW. The office core is protected on the south side by a dark concrete beam of grand dimensions (approximately 80 meters in length) that highlights at a larger scale the horizontality of certain elements of the project. The beam, parallel to the ground, projects beyond the building’s perimeter as if to indicate a confrontation between itself and the landscape. Its reflection on the glazed façade yields a great “floating shade” that serves a climatic function by mediating temperature within the work spaces.

Pratic GEZA 03 600x399 New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic \ GEZA

New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic, photo by Fernando Guerra

THREE NATURES. The organization of the programs housed within the headquarters of Pratic tends to establish a non hierarchical rapport between the spaces and instead privileges a greater quality of integration between the built environments. Every function is instilled with a sense of clarity and rigor, from the loading dock area to the space planning of the offices. This simplicity can even be understood in terms of the project’s interaction with the surrounding context, which was carefully designed by GEZA through three gestures: the cultivated terrain, the garden and the patio. The cultivated terrain opens towards the southern and western fronts of the complex, merging it with the landscape. The two main buildings straddle the garden, a semi-private area that reconciles the production core with that of the administration. An oak tree, planted in the middle of a patio, defines the last natural element of the design. The materiality and nature of the space interrupts the fluidity of the office core, thus creating a more intimate relationship between nature and man.

Pratic GEZA New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic \ GEZA

New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic, photo by Fernando Guerra

The patio enriches the interior spaces by acting as an extension of the surrounding landscape that overcomes the feeling of interiority of the offices. The crescent design of the parking lot also redefines the concept of landscape. The area reserved for vehicles is situated within a circular perimeter slightly buried in respect to the highway in order to buffer the visual impact this has on the project.

Pratic GEZA 08 New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic \ GEZA

New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic, photo by Fernando Guerra

SUSTAINABILITY. The design’s focus on landscape is also developed in terms of environmental sustainability. The production core’s roof is composed of a series of photovoltaic panels that cover a surface of approximately 2,300 m2 that generate a greater amount of energy than is necessary to run the building. Pratic, designed as a “classe A” (the equivalent of a LEED platinum) certified structure, is self-sufficient. The photovoltaic technology is usually hidden from sight by the architecture that holds the panels in place on the roof. Based on several studies regarding the general health of interior spaces and energy saving tactics, Pratic developed solar screens integrated into the architecture for the offices and the production core. In this context, the “floating shade”, besides defining the character of the building, is an element indispensable to climate control since it supports the filtering screens and modulates most of the direct sunlight the offices are subject to throughout the seasons.

Landscape, light, and sustainable energy are the key elements to understand the design for the headquarters of Pratic. It’s industrial architecture at its best. The complex manages to have an affinity to its surrounding environment, allowing the terrain, the sunlight, and the mountains to form both the background and foreground of its composition.

+ Project facts

architects: GEZA Gri e Zucchi Architetti Associati
team: Stefania Anzil, Fabio Passon
structural engineer: Nuttassociati
mechanical engineer: Studio Bulfon Associati
electrical engineer: Studio Battista
contractor: Edildri costruzioni S.r.l.
external works: Slurry Italia srl
prefabs: Spav Prefabbricati
mechanical systems: Vaportemica Commerciale srl
electrical systems: Elettrica Ducale snc

building program
factory: 10.000 mq
offices: 1.000 mq
showroom: 550 mq
loading docks: 2.700 mq
parking: 120 spots
landscape: 33.000 mq

costs: 7.000.000 Euros total
design: 2008-2009
construction: 2009-2011

Photographer: Fernando Guerra | FG+SG

+ About GEZA – Gri e Zucchi Architetti Associati

Stefano Gri and Piero Zucchi founded the practice Geza -Gri e Zucchi Architetti Associati in Udine in 1999.

GEZA New Headquarters and Production Complex for Pratic \ GEZA

Stefano Gri and Piero Zucchi, courtesy Geza

Stefano Gri (born in Udine in 1963) graduated as an Architect at IUAV, Venice, in 1988 and has been registered in the Roll of Architects of Udine (Italy) since 1990. After several vocational experiences in Italy, he moved to Barcelona, Spain to work with  the practice of architect Tonet Sunyer + Jordi Badia in 1992.

Piero Zucchi (born in Udine 1965) graduated as an architect at IUAV, Venice in 1992. He then studied at ETSA in Seville, Spain and attended a Masterclass with Rem Koolhaas at BIA in Amsterdam, the Netherlands in 1994. He has been registered in the Roll of Architects of Udine (Italy) since 1993. He worked with Studio Valle Architetti Associati in Udine from 1993 to 1998.

In addition to working in Geza, both in individual or shared projects, Stefano Gri and Piero Zucchi also taught at IUAV in Venice from 1993 to 1999 and at the School of Architecture in Trieste since 2010. They won along with other designers the Competition for “Casa dell’Architettura” in Udine and the competition for a square in Fossalta di Portogruaro (Venice, Italy) in 1996. They were awarded the “1st runner up” at EUROPAN 6 international competition for the Setubal area in Portugal in 2001. They have been finalists in numerous occasions, such as at the “Medaglia d’Oro all’Architettural Italiana” and the “Premio Marcello D’Olivo”. Gri and Zucchi have also been presidents and members of juries for multiple architectural competitions. In 2007 an exhibition featuring the firm called “Case/Studio – progetti, concorsi, realizzazioni dal 2000 al 2007” was held at SanMichele11, in Trieste.

In 2006 they were finalists at “Medaglia d’Oro per L’Architettura Italiana” at Triennale di Milano. They were shortlisted for the Bauwelt Preis in Berlin (Germany) in 2003, for the “Premio Architettura Città di Oderzo” in 2002, for the Piranesi Award in Pirano (Slovenia) in 1997, 1999 and 2010. They were also finalists at the Premio D’Olivo in Udine in 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2010. The design for the Casa della Musica in Cervignano del Friuli, Italy was nominated for the 2011 Mies van der Rohe award.

+ All images courtesy FG+SG

Tags: , , ,

Category: Architecture, Office

Comments (0)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

There are no comments yet. Why not be the first to speak your mind.

Comments are closed.