School and research

Model School

Sora, Frosinone | Italy


Sora, Frosinone
Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Ministry of Education, Department of Home Italy
Architectural design
RPBW Renzo Piano Building Workshop, with Alvisi Kirimoto
2017 - 2019
Amount of works
7.000.000 €
Services Provided
Structures design | Construction management | Safety coordination
School and research
3,000 square meters
Construction technique

A Model School

A model school that establishes an osmotic relationship with the land. An earthquake-proof structure anchored to a concrete raft. An architecture made of fir wood, to be dry-assembled. It is the school that Renzo Piano and G124, the working group set up by the architect and life senator to redevelop suburbs, designed for the town of Sora, in the province of Frosinone, an area historically at risk of natural disasters, especially earthquakes.

The Model School is the case study of the G124 working group of Arch. Renzo Piano, as Senator for Life. The school, to be built in Sora in the Province of Frosinone, in zone 1, the highest for seismic risk, was designed entirely in wood and according to innovative criteria: openness of the building to the territory, zero environmental impact, seismic safety and high energy efficiency.

Ground floor plan project of the Model School in Sora (FR)
Floor plan second floor project of the Model School in Sora (FR)
Roof plan project of the Model School in Sora (FR)

The school of the future envisioned by Renzo Piano and developed by the G124 team is on three levels. The ground floor has the function of connecting with the city; it is permeable and transparent, organized around a garden with a large central tree. The second floor is dedicated to study, with classrooms facing the inner courtyard. The roof is the 'terrace of Thales,' the scholar who, while observing sunsets, discovered that the year lasts 365 days. The terrace is the place where the child cultivates his personal imagination, the place of observation, of the city, the sky, the stars. The building is economical and very low environmental impact, where giant meters will indicate the daily consumption of energy and water, so that even the little guests will learn to conserve resources.

Sketch of the model school project in Sora (FR) by Renzo Piano

Cost-effectiveness and seismic safety

The structural system achieved the goal of maximum cost-effectiveness without sacrificing structural and particularly seismic safety.

The construction system is elementary and effective: glulam pillars and beams to which x-lam panels are applied, which are the walkable deck. Stability is ensured by metal bracing that responds to horizontal forces, and the regular mesh makes it possible to optimize the use of different materials.

The light weight of the material allows considerable savings in the foundations, which are characterized by a single platform 0.60 m thick from which the columns stand out and to which the bracing is connected.

Bluprint project Anti-seismic and economic model school in Sora (FR)
It is good practice is also part of structural design. Adopting efficient structural slabs, regular pillar grid, continuous rather than discrete systems, and choosing readily available materials produced within a short distance are key elements that were applied in the Sora Model School project.

Simultaneously with the construction of the school, 1,000 trees will be planted on 20 hectares of land, which in 15 years will replenish the wood that was consumed in production.
One of the 1000 trees that will replenish the wood consumed in the construction of the Model School in Sora (FR)
X-lam panels are prefabricated elements that arrive at the construction site already cut to size, to be assembled with nails and screws to the beams and columns. They are very stable elements, composed by overlapping cross-fiber softwood planks.

Both beams and panels are fully prefabricated and finished in the factory so that they are simply installed in their final positions. The industrial production process ensures high quality control and thus material performance. Prefabrication and non-dimensional limitation allow for functional optimization.
X-lam prefabricated wood panel structures axonometry
The Sora Model School was created as part of interventions by G124, Senator Renzo Piano's working group on suburbs. An intervention that stands as a centralizer of public activities and a symbol of educational and architectural experimentation.

Located in the province of Frosinone, the town of Sora was chosen as a Case Study by the Casa Italia working group because it is Zone 1 for seismic risk, is at high hydrogeological risk, suffered an earthquake in 1915 and has a high number of Public Housing in need of rehabilitation and safety work. In addition, school buildings are in need of comprehensive upgrading. The G124 working group together with the mayor identified a public area to intervene on located in the southwest, along the main access axis to the city, about 1Km from the historic center.
Renzo Piano's G124 working group around model school in Sora
"This school is a drop that can trace a path for other realities, not to be replicated by 'copying and pasting,' but by inspiring."
Renzo Piano

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