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University of Turin, Foster + Partners, Turin, form TL, passive solar

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.

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