Architects: MMAA (Studio Manfroni & Associati srl) – Mario Manfroni, Patrizia Burlando, Danilo Sergiampietri, Daniela Cappelletti
Location: La Spezia, Italy
Client: Centro Fieristico della Spezia
Structural engineering: Exa engineering srl
Contractor: Cometal spa, Parma, Italy
Project area: 5,500 sqm
Project year: 2006 – 2007
Photographs: Roberto Buratta
The new expo pavilion has been built in a former industrial area previously occupied by a pasta factory. The building, which features a coated iron structure and envelope made of titanium-zinc panels and vast glazed surfaces, takes the form of a long parallelepiped, folded over on itself, that soars up from the ground, jutting out sharply at the end to shelter the entrance facing the pre-existing multiplex. The shape of the building is based on the idea of creating an architectural promenade that unfurls from the highest point of the building, through an exhibition space, down to the bottom.
The shape of the ramp that leads through the interior makes the outside of the building look like a giant, twisted metal tube. This striking form also becomes an element that structures the interior layout, creating the right hierarchy of space without sacrificing overall harmony: the unified space can house different functions at the same time, or be used as single venue.
On the ground floor are public and service entrances, and many of the exhibition areas, which then seamlessly continue through the space of the intermediate and upper floor.
This top floor can be used separately from the rest of the building, for exhibitions that are thematic or reserved for a select public, since it has its own entrance, and a section with stairs and elevators that can be dedicated to this specific use. Due to its location, the fair becomes an ideal gateway to the city, looking onto Via Carducci through a glazed wall parallel to the street, topped by a single metal roof that also becomes a unifying element in the architectural whole.