About Net Center
Net Center is located in an outskirt region to the eastern side of the main town, serving to anchor a new urban district called San Lazzaro. The design of the tower aimed to create a landmark for the larger surrounding territory and bring interest to the entire complex and region. It is an attempt to give these suburban places the same quality of the historic centers of the main towns through urban design and strong architectural expression. An important element of the complex is the public square on which the tower sits, creating a key urban space for the public.
The lower floor plans of the tower are trapezoids with the shorter sides facing the street; the plans change at every level, eventually becoming a rectangle at the 10th floor. Rising up towards the top the plans become opposite trapezoids with the shorter sides facing the public square. Thus, on the eastern and western façades a curved surface is generated from the straight lines. These horizontal straight lines are expressed in the red aluminum sunscreens. The steel structure is supported by eight round columns in plan, four of which are inclined to follow the changing form.
Net Center rests on a 15,000 sq m (161,458 sq ft) wide rectangular slab, raised 1.5 meters (5 feet) from the ground, for pedestrian use only, while cars are parked underneath it. The slab is covered in black slate, extended inside all the ground floors of the buildings to lend an internal/external permeability. There is a sequential system of urban areas: the long gallery is connected to the big square and a smaller future square (in the north) with services for inhabitants in the neighborhood (shops, pharmacy, weekly market, and so on). In this system the red tower marks the presence of the public square and it faces the main street to attract interest and to leave the square open to the neighborhood in the north.
In this building solar protection in the form of the shading elements has become the key element in the tower’s primary architectural expression. The horizontal red grids (of which there are three for every floor) give the building its red twisting and curved shape (while the glazing behind is actually flat). In the low-rise buildings the shading elements are made of stretched aluminum sheets that automatically open and close, following the movement of the sun. Winter heating and summer cooling are provided by a high-efficiency heat pump system. Ventilation is provided by mechanical devices that allow energy recovery.