Work was recently completed on the University of Turin's new law and political science complex, which was designed by Foster + Partners as a vibrant new facility to anchor the campus. One of the most unique architectural features of the sprawling law and political science building is its large overhanging roof, whose depth is determined by the path of the sun. German firm formTL designed the large cantilevered membrane roof that appears to float above the structure, allowing natural light to filter into the buildings.
For the past two decades, the University of Turin has been gradually modernizing its architecture as new facilities are constructed on formerly industrial land. Foster + Partners describes its design as “a modern interpretation of the traditional cloistered quadrangle,” and it features two separate buildings connected by a single roof canopy. The roof canopy lets a great deal of diffused light into the buildings’ large atriums, reducing the need for artificial light. Overall, passive design strategies help to reduce the buildings’ energy needs by about 20 percent.
The facades feature curved forms and rounded edges, and because of those unusual shapes, the construction of the membrane roof required sophisticated engineering. A complex, three-dimensional steel substructure arches above the roof, and a flexible membrane stretches over it. Inside, Foster + Partners designed flexible classrooms and lecture halls that can be adapted and changed to fit the school’s needs. The building also features a roof garden that provides a quiet space for study.