School and research

Bovisa-Goccia Campus of the Politecnico di Milano

Milan | Italy


Polytechnic University of Milan
Architectural design
RPBW Renzo Piano Building Workshop
2022 - ongoing
Services Provided
Structure design
School and research
Land area: 32 ha
Total area: 105,000 square meters
Construction technique
wood, steel, reinforced concrete

An open, green and permeable campus

The Bovisa-Goccia masterplan covers a total land area of 32 hectares, owned by the City of Milan and the Politecnico di Milano, which thus expands its campus with the creation of a science park/innovation hub with areas dedicated to services for students, businesses and citizens. an open, green and permeable Renzo Piano project to stitch up the former Goccia industrial area to the city of Milan.

In the area of the former gasometers will rise the project for the Bovisa campus of the Milan Polytechnic, signed by Architect Renzo Piano.

The master plan calls for 20 new 16-meter-high buildings, totaling about 105,000 square meters, linked together in a mix of functions that will make it a lively neighborhood at all times of the day. With wooden structures and high plant efficiency, it will be an energy-independent, carbon-neutral project.

Rendering New Campus Bovisa Drop by Politecnico di Milano
Rendering Campus Bovisa Drop - glass and steel walkways

The plan to expand the Politecnico's spaces, which aims for energy independence and zero CO2 emissions, includes the construction of three classroom buildings, five startup buildings, an underground conference hall, two university residences of about 500 lodgings in addition to the redevelopment of a historic industrial building for food and beverage to serve campus guests. The master plan aims to reconnect the Drop to the city through interventions on mobility and includes the redevelopment of the area of the former gasometers, pre-existing industrial archaeology landmarks of the neighborhood that will be recovered and earmarked to host a hub for innovation, where laboratories, startups and a space dedicated to wellness and sports, also open to the city, will find a home.

The twenty new buildings in the master plan will be joined by civic schools and a mix of functions, connected by pedestrian tree-lined avenues, that will make it a living neighborhood. A large pedestrian cycle axis to the south, between Gasometri and the Lambruschini campus, will unite the two stations, Bovisa and Villapizzone, which will be renovated and interconnected to the entire campus.

Masterplan new Campus Bovisa-Goccia of Politecnico di Milano

A modular system made of steel and wood

All buildings on the campus will be made of predominantly wooden structures. The trees that will be planted in the green areas will return within 30 years the wood mass used in the construction of the buildings.
The structures, regardless of each building's own intended use, were designed following the load and structural importance requirements that would be devoted to university classrooms, in a logic of total space flexibility.

Concrete foundations from which stand out steel framed structures, beams and pillars supporting cross-laminated timber panels that form the floors of the various floors. A collaborating reinforced concrete hood makes the floor rigid in its plane and improves sound insulation from one floor to another.
The roof is a spatial lattice structure with a pyramidal module formed by tubular beams and diagonals joined at the nodes with a multidirectional connection formed by fusion. It will be pre-assembled on the ground, raised and anchored to the building structure.

New buildings with mixed wood, steel and concrete structures will be built within the existing steel skeletons of the gasometers. The roof is a large wooden dome formed by curved radial beams connected at the center. The pre-industrial structures will be maintained and restored. All damaged knots and profiles will be restored, the entire carpentry will be sandblasted, treated and repainted.

Exploded steel framing fittings New Campus Bovisa-Goccia Politecnico di Milano
Exploded steel fittings details new Campus Bovisa-Goccia Politecnico di Milano
Detail structures project New Campus Bovisa-Goccia Politecnico di Milano
Detail of roofing composition of the new Campus Bovisa-Goccia Politecnico di Milano
Wood is an excellent building material, with a long history, which when glued in cross layers, X-lam, achieves considerable dimensions such that it can withstand the ordinary loads for which structures are intended.

The components belong to the prefabrication supply chain and can be disassembled and recycled at the end of their life.
It is material that comes from renewable sources, from certified forests that adhere to FSC (Forest stewardship Council) protocols or responsible forest management, material that does not need to dissipate high amounts of energy in its process of transformation and adaptation to structural functions.
X-lam cross-laminated wood panels - Campus Bovisa-Goccia Politecnico di Milano
X-lam cross-lam glued wood panel yard
Wood sourced from FSC-certified companies for the construction of the new Bovisa-Goccia Campus of the Milan Polytechnic University of Technology
After the recent earthquakes, all of Italy has been classified as being at seismic risk; Milan is classified in zone 3, a zone with low seismic hazard, which can be subject to modest shaking, so the use of low-weight materials, such as XLam, 450 kg/m3, results in reduced mass that constitutes greater safety in the event of earthquakes.

Contrary to popular belief, it is highly resistant to fire. Surface burning self-protects structural components, preventing instantaneous collapse without warning. It is a good thermal and acoustic insulator, easy to work with, has aesthetic qualities, and, if well treated, resists weathering, biological attack, xylophagous agents, and finally creates the feeling of a warm and welcoming environment.
The advantages of using wood - New Campus Bovisa-Goccia Politecnico di Milano
The campus will be Zero Energy, meaning energy independent, and Zero Carbon; therefore, it will have no C02 emissions into the atmosphere during its operation

Great attention to the most current aspects of sustainability led to the choice of the structural type of wood, with a plan to plant new trees to compensate, over time, for the amount of use. Energy-wise, it will be Zero Energy, meaning energy independent, and Zero Carbon, zeroing out C02 emissions into the atmosphere during its operation.
Project Campus Bovisa-Goccia Politecnico di Milano Energy Independent Campus - Zero Energy, Zero Carbon
"The essence of this project was already written there. The idea was already there waiting for nothing else. First, the forest with those majestic trees. Then the traces of the factory on the ground, those old buildings bearing witness to the memory of the places and their DNA."
Renzo Piano

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