Italcementi, one of the top five cement manufacturers in the world, has a dazzling new white research lab in Bergamo, Italy. Designed by Richard Meier & Partners, the Italcementi i.Lab is one of the first LEED Platinum certified projects in Italy and is the US architecture firm's most sustainable building yet. Besides the solar panels, rainwater collection and high performance facade, the building also boasts a pollution-busting white concrete facade, Italcementi's own innovative recipe.
Italcementi i.Lab is located at the eastern end of the Kilometro Rosso Scientific Technology Park in Bergamo, Italy. The V-shaped building is composed of two wings on either side of a central courtyard to make the most of the triangular site. Richard Meier & Partners was hired for the project after their collaboration with Italcementi on the Jubilee Church in Rome. The innovative new lab reflects the company’s commitment to sustainability as well as the amazing things you can do with concrete and it provides them space for ongoing research. The lab is one of the first projects in Italy to be awarded with a LEED Platinum certification. Inside the building provides space for laboratory and administrative spaces along with public reception areas, meeting rooms and an auditorium.
The building has a high performance facade composed of distinct curtain wall of concrete louvers with low e and low iron glass that allows daylight in and minimizes solar heat gain. Behind the south facing facades is a circulation route that provides a buffer to the work spaces behind a glass partition. Skylights let in more daylight from above while a white membrane roof reflects heat. Solar photovoltaics and solar thermal panels provide for 10% of the building’s energy needs and a geothermal system provides energy efficient heating and cooling. Rainwater, meanwhile is collected in a below-grade cistern and used for irrigation, toilet flushing and ground water recharge. Native grasses and plants and permeable paving minimize irrigation and allow for infiltration. Finally, the building also features Italcemnti’s own innovative concrete product – white TX Active® concrete that reacts with ultraviolet rays to break down harmful pollutants. The high-strength, white reinforced concrete will work to reduce pollution from cars and industrial activities and will always be white because of its self-cleaning properties.
Images ©Scott Frances