New campus at Franklin University Switzerland by Flaviano Capriotti Architetti

Franklin University Switzerland

Unveiled the design for the new campus at Franklin University Switzerland (FUS), Lugano, due for completion in spring 2022. In a bid to continually grow and increase student numbers, the University decided to extend one of its accommodation buildings, “Campus 3”, and has commissioned Flaviano Capriotti Architetti for the project. The new section will cover a range of functions, including 30 residential units, educational spaces, offices, a fitness area and underground parking.

The facade of the building is a tribute to that quintessential symbol of knowledge: the book. The building is characterised by two distinct architectonic blocks which are linked by their different perspectives, with one being a communal and educational space and one designed for university accommodation. The public-use building stands out for its permeable architecture and, almost as if to assert the purpose of the building, semi-transparent surfaces hint at the interiors within and invite students and the wider community to discover and interact.

A glowing light in the auditorium indicates activity within to the outside, turning the building into a dynamic space that speaks to the surrounding urban setting. Designed as a shared space with communal functions, it stands like a beacon of light within the overall complex. Clad with an orientable system of white photovoltaic plates, which has been developed in collaboration with SUPSI (the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland) and its Department of Environment, Constructions and Design, the Franklin campus building features the first photovoltaic system in Europe to be fitted with components that follow the orientation of the sun.

This mechanism makes the building more sustainable from an environmental point of view and simultaneously provides shading within the spaces, for greater thermal and visual comfort. The university accommodation section rests on the main block. Its pigmented and patterned concrete surfaces evoke the colour and texture of the surrounding alpine landscape and at the same time guarantee greater privacy. The finishing touch of the design is the campus gardens.

Created by Hortensia Garden Design, they offer students and professors a communal space to enjoy the benefits of being able to bathe in nature. The gardens are inspired by the Lugano landscapes and their terraced slopes feature Mediterranean plants that have been naturalised thanks to the mild climate of the lake and carefully chosen for their seasonal characteristics. The student accommodation building is a large four-storey structure in patterned and pigmented concrete.

Private and withdrawn, it sits harmoniously within the urban context, creating a solid facade onto the street. This is dotted with identical windows that occasionally differ in size but are arranged in a precise, grid-like manner. A linear and continuous pattern evokes the layers of the pages in a book. An emblem of culture and communication, the book symbolically impacts the surrounding alpine landscape and reinterprets this onto the facade of the university building.

The student residence is connected to the previous structure built on the area and forms the original C-shaped court, with open walkways overlooking a private internal garden. An open set of steps cuts lengthways across the area connecting Via Ponte Tresa and the historic Via San Grato and alongside the green courtyard, while two levels of underground parking complete the design.

Landscape Design
Taking inspiration from the local landscape, the garden is characterised by natural terraced slopes and Mediterranean plants. The path through the garden is lined with tress and shrubs and “Garden Rooms” have been added throughout: mini zones entirely surrounded by plants where the benefits of nature can be fully enjoyed and the senses can be enticed by the garden’s many scents, colours
and sounds. Particular attention has been paid to the seasonality of plants, making it possible to bathe in the benefits of nature all year round. Source by Flaviano Capriotti Architetti.

  • Location: Lugano, Switzerland
  • Architect: Flaviano Capriotti Architetti
  • Project management and local architect: Afry Switzerland LTD
  • Lighting design: Afry Switzerland LTD
  • Building physics: Ifec
  • Fire safety design: Tea engineering
  • Climate control and plumbing: Zocchetti sa
  • Electrical design: Solcà
  • Structure design: Casanova
  • Survey: Riccardo Calastri sa
  • Geologist: Dr. Gianni Togliani
  • Landscape design: Hortensia
  • Site report: Galli&partners
  • General architecture contractor: Quadri sa
  • Construction excavation: Birolini sa
  • Completion: 2022
  • Images: Courtesy of NEMO MONTI

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