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Inspired by the surrounding landscape, Vulcano Buono has a gently sloping profile that rises from the earth as a grassy green knoll. The structure’s roof is carpeted with a vegetative layer of over 2,500 plants that helps to insulate the interior spaces and reduces the structure’s visual impact so that it’s barely visible from space. Renzo Piano clearly has a penchant for grassy hills – see also the undulating green roof that tops the California Academy of Sciences.

A 150 meter-wide clearing in the volcano’s crater lends space for an outdoor theater, a market, and a sloping pine forest. Rising around this heart is a concentric series of circles that form the center’s commercial areas. The volcano’s slopes are held by structural components meant to evoke trees – each “trunk” sprouts three or four supporting “branches”.

The roof of Vulcano Buono is laced with a series of skylights fitted with solar-control double-pane glass that allows daylight to filter through the mall, reducing energy needs from lighting. The interior of the complex houses shops, a supermarket, a 2,000 seat cinema, restaurants, and a hotel. Renzo Piano describes the building as “a contemporary take on a greek marketplace, a void as a place for events, meetings, dialogue and the gathering of people”.

+ Renzo Piano Building Workshop

+ Vulcano Buono

Photos by Moreno Maggi