School and research

Leonardo Campus of the Milan Polytechnic

Milan | Italy


Polytechnic University of Milan
Architectural design
RPBW Renzo Piano Building Workshop with Ottavio Di Blasi & Partners
2017 - 2018
Services Provided
Structure design
School and research
Total area: 4,200 square meters
Construction technique
wood, steel, reinforced concrete

A stitching intervention

The story of the new campus originates from an idea of senator and alumnus Renzo Piano, who set the initial guidelines for the project. The reconnection of urban spaces animated the project based on respect for the site's historical heritage, but also marked by a modern vision of the university environment. The campus was redesigned through the restoration of the two historic buildings designed by Gio Ponti, Trifoglio and Nave, and the construction of three new volumes, which, like a diffuse architectural fabric, enhance the historic buildings and create permeability between the city and the university, thus regenerating the entire Città Studi neighborhood.

The redevelopment project of the Milan Polytechnic's Architecture Campus now sees three new buildings dedicated to teaching, integrated with the historic buildings, Trifoglio and Nave designed in the 1950s by Giordano Forti, Giò Ponti and Piero Portaluppi and Viganò's 1970s intervention. The structure is mixed steel and wood; columns and beams are steel with X-Lam wood floors.

Restoration and expansion Campus Leonardo Faculty of Architecture, Polytechnic University of Milan
Render courtyard and green areas Campus Leonardo faculty of architecture Politecnico di Milano
Top view of courtyard and green areas of Leonardo Campus Faculty of Architecture, Polytechnic University of Milan
Detail facade and green areas new Campus Leonardo faculty of Architecture Politecnico di Milano
Common areas New Campus Leonardo Faculty of Architecture Politecnico di Milano

A green and technological campus, open to the city

The new Architecture Campus of the Milan Polytechnic, designed by Ottavio Di Blasi from an idea by Renzo Piano, was born from the reorganization of the spaces of the Via Bonardi complex, which was transformed into a modern urban campus.

The Architecture Campus had been formed in the postwar period after Giò Ponti's intervention to meet space needs that were increasing every year. Before the intervention, it was configured as an assortment of disparate buildings. The re-stitching started with the demolition of secondary structures that prevented the use of the buildings by Ponti, Forti and Portaluppi, followed by the construction of new volumes, a multi-story building for teaching rooms and three low buildings for laboratories, common spaces and services.

The new buildings enclose a total area of 4,200 square meters and contain classrooms for 800 students. The facades are designed with large windows to flood the interiors with light, and the terraces on top of the two low buildings can host outdoor activities and events. The low floor is the new distribution plane, a continuous, living parterre that can be used from every building. It is a system of pedestrian paths and green areas, in which 130 trees have been planted, open to the city, connecting the campus to the park in Leonardo da Vinci Square and the Guido Romano swimming pool garden.

Greenery abounds at the new Leonardo Campus Faculty of Architecture of the Milan Polytechnic University of Architecture

A modular system made of steel and wood

The new architectures are all built with dry technology and feature large windows facing the green space. The new buildings share the same construction system, a series of steel portals consisting of circular-section columns and 12-meter-span main beams on which rests a 24-cm-thick X-Lam type wooden floor slab.

The facades are a continuous curtain wall of fixed mirrors, into which the entrance system is integrated. The practicable roofs are finished with floating UHPC flooring.

All construction elements are exposed. This is a didactic choice that allows the users, the architecture students, to look at and touch the dry technology.

Construction site new Leonardo campus Faculty of Architecture Politeccnico di Milano
cantire Campus Leonardo of the faculty of architecture polytechnic of Milan built with modular system of wood and steel
Detail of wood and steel modular system used in the construction of the New Campus Leonardo Politecnico di Milano
Top view of the construction site for the new Leonardo Campus Politecnico di Milano
"an open, international, cutting-edge urban campus"
Octavius Di Blasi

Related projects

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