Socio-rehabilitative and cultural complex

Adro, Brescia, Italy

This project was brought forth by the cooperation between diverse proponents, public and private, aiming to accomplish common finalities of promoting urban and landscape qualities of the Adro Municipality and Franciacorta region in general.

The project represents a possibility for the development of the endeavours of the non-profit Social Cooperative IS.PA.RO. and derives from the important experience gained in recent years in the field of mental health; an experience that has brought the Cooperative to be considered a peak of excellence in the wider national and European panorama of psychological hardship treatment.

The intrinsic landscape quality of the area of study lies generally in its belonging to the territory of the Franciacorta wine region, characterised by the coexistence of significant constitutive elements in view of their historic, planning and environmental profiles.

The scope of intervention extending over nearly 90,000 m2 undoubtedly comprises a valuable portion of the territory positioned on the border of the Adro and Erbusco Municipalities.

The principal characteristic of the area in question is the presence of a small lake of an approximate surface area of 37,542 m2. The basin acts as a small reservoir, collecting the waters that flow from the surrounding hills and watersheds.

The general objectives of the project can be summarised in three essential points: the remediation and requalification of a portion of the municipal territory which is considered important and valuable as territorial landscape; the individuation and locating of the works of public interest within the territory of the Adro Municipality (Brescia, Italy); the incrementing of social networks that facilitate employment placements of the differently able persons and stabilizing relationships between private companies, public companies and institutions concerned with local development. Such objectives can only be accomplished as a result of the synergy between public and private entities operators.

In consideration of the fragile environmental context an architectural project has been drawn up adapting, even from the preliminary design stage, a scale of project sufficient and useful to warrant the effects induced by the proposed intervention, and to demonstrate its compatibility with the context.

An improved and a more valid effectiveness was reached by establishing a relationship between the involved public and private stakeholders in the planning schema that was reached in concordance and by participation, with appropriate and effective interventions aiming to promote the requalification of the context.

The design process posed itself the respect of structural characters of the context and the assonance with the morphological peculiarities of the place as the prime objectives. The existing physique in its totality has represented the objective condition of design.

The analysis of the condition of the places and the project objectives lead to the detachment of a series of stand alone and autonomous buildings according to the functional brief in agreement with the Municipal Administration.

From the morphological and compositional point of view the new architecture, clearly contemporary, draws upon a personal formal and figurative repertory that discerns, from the framework of the distinctive character of the context, the compositional material for the design.

The articulation of the new volumes defines outdoor paths creating a new and qualifying succession of open-air spaces. 

The project takes into account the landscape elements available on site and makes them its own. This aspect characterizes its course of study and will also chracterize the next stages, which concern the detailed examination of its different parts.

The design study pays attention both to the environmental/structural aspects of the landscape and to the aspects of the quote and the design of spaces and typical sites. Indeed, the project maintains: the current stretch of water with its affluent ditches, the cane thicket, the wood where possible, the underground water veins, the isolated trees where possible and the connections. Whereas these elements are put back in right perspective, a compensation is foreseen in order to re-equip the sites totally. This gives substance to the project of the open air spaces, where the buildings are located.

Actually, in this sense, in the project of the open air spaces the maintenance and the reconstruction of the cane thicket, of the banks vegetated with hydric species, of the isolated tree specimens, of the  scrubs of typical shrubs and the wood located around the intervention or in its proximity represent the building elements of the mitigation and compensation works.

The project of the green works is aimed to build ecological connections and soft edges, both inside the portion of landscape constituted by the lake with its outbuildings and outside the same portion.

The language used for each building, in their simple rationality, may become even more organic through some targeted design solutions: for example, in these buildings it is proposed the use of large transparent glass surfaces (citing the stretch of water), alongside the use of repeated vertical columnar thin blonde elements (a chromaticism that lends itself to mention the cane thicket): the flat coverings will be green roofs (citing meadows); it is foreseeable the use of pile dwelling systems (that is to say slabs lifted from the ground or from the surface of the water and resting on pillars driven into the ground). Everything fits the architecture in the landscape context in an appropriate and integrated way.

The same round “roccolo” (a typical structure used by bird hunters), available in the surrounding landscape, can be cited in the round pavilion with the function of reception point, with the addition of a perimeter line of hornbeam; other similar solutions, that are to be deepen in the executive phase, can occur as further elements of a glad integration in the area.

The proposed architecture must dialogue with the place and get its genius loci; therefore the use of volumes, which are simple, transparent, off the ground, built on piles, flat or sloping roofs treated with green roof, suitably fits the pavilions in the context.

In this sense, it could be significant to mention the architect Mies van der Rohe’s project for Farnworth House, that was built in 1945/50 on Fox river in Illinois. To this work, an awesome summary of the most explicit features of the current architecture (simplicity, rigour, formal minimalism) and the necessity of its harmonic introduction in the environmental context are universally recognized. 

In this way, my intervention builds a place of care, offering a fusion between nature and landscape and contributing, through the architecture, to build homely, comfortable, relaxing and nearly contemplative places.

The objectives of the project articulate themselves according to a systematic whole of works of architecture that can be summarised as follows: the construction of a new roundabout in correspondence with the intersection between the provincial road XI and the Lovera road; the upgrade of the Lovera road comprising widening of carriageway and provisions for adjacent bicycle/pedestrian lane; the construction of buildings of public interest in accordance with the following functional program: reception/Info point; auditorium; offices; exhibition gallery; restaurant; multipurpose building (catering and meeting); hospitality structure constituted by a Manor House and 30 rooms located separately in 17 building units.

From the dimensional viewpoint, the planar/volumetric consistency of the design proposal makes provision for a combined volume of 33,194 m3, a gross area of 11,340 m2 and a covered surface area of 7,785 m2. The maximum building height is 7 m.

Of a particular importance is the provision for a bio-mass tri-generation energy complex and the autonomous applications network, adequately dimensioned in relation to energy sub-products available in the territory of Franciacorta (vine branches, vines stumps, miscanthus, waste materials deriving from green areas maintenance, etc.).

The project has been presented as part of “The Fragile City” exhibition, curated by Aldo Bonomi, at the Triennale di Milano, from 20 November 2009 to 10 January 2010.

Development stakeholders:

Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Social Welfare, Region of Lombardy, (Assessorate for Health and Assessorate for Culture), Province of Brescia, (Assessorate for Work, Social Services and Culture), Adro Council, Clarabella Farm Consortium, Mellino Mellini of Chiari Hospital, Franciacorta preservation Consortium.


Massimiliano Gamba


Giovanni Ginoulhiac



Dimensional data

Intervention area: 89,418 m2


Project: 2009

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