The University Educational Center (CDU) is a mixed-use, 14,000 sq. m building located in Rozzano, a municipality south of Milan, which is an integral part of the cluster of cities that surround the capital of Lombardy. We were commissioned by Technint SpA to improve the status of the Rozzano hospital (Humanitas Clinic) by transforming it into a university hospital with a cultural center.

Program: University Educational Center (Medicine, Nursing, and Biotechnologies) + Housing Facilities
Location: Rozzano Milan, Italy
Client: Techint spa; Istituto Clinico Humanitas
Assignment: Labics, D. Durante, R. Atena: competition
Labics, D. Durante: preliminary design, scheme design

Schedule: 2002-2004
Status: Final design
Lot Area: 23,000 sqm
Built Area: 14,000 sqm
Total Cost: 30,000,000 Euro
Awards: 1st Competition Prize, Milan, 2002 -Publication: -Architectural Record, n. 12, 2003, Actar, 2005, -Ottagono n.169, 2004


The new building will house the Departments of Medicine, Biotechnology, and Nursing Sciences, will also include accommodations for lecturers and students, the auditorium, the library, meeting rooms and public facilities.
We conceived of the university project in terms of its transitional nature; a place that negotiates the relationship between collectivity and individuals and operates between these two poles. On one hand, it is an institutional place that represents the scientific community – a place of strong collective identity, flows, and encounters. On the other hand, it is a space that cultivates an individual’s values and identity – a place that nurtures self-discovery and independence. The building’s figurative and conceptual diagram is based on this duality.

The surface, which is a skin, boundary, and membrane of friction between the two systems, becomes transfigured in the transition from urban public space to intimate private realm. The building breaks into bars that, like the rows of ploughed fields, obtain a direct, personal relationship with the landscape. The large inclined surface that faces the hospital serves to frame and present a unitary image of the university as an institution, on the other hand, it has the capacity to lose itself in the landscape and radically artificialize the nature.

The path of public distribution is able to integrate the described different facilities into an “organic way” that is developing from the exterior to the interior and throughout any individual building.
Further the distribution system is strongly thought as a “passage” that goes along the artificiality of the advanced use of technology, which is articulated within the landscape. The so strong relation between the building and the nature wants to propose a different way in the use of the cultural public space: the project is facing directly the surrounded landscape. From the interior is always possible to perceive the landscape thus to become the argument that is able to trigger the main design concept: the inclined roof surface emerge out of the ground thus to become a fragment of the nature.


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