- Client Leader : Gianandrea Barreca, Giovanni La Varra
- Project Leader : Claudio Barborini
- Artistic Direction : Bruno Carniello
- Interior Design : Diletta Baiguera
- Construction Design : Valentina De Palo, Diletta Rumi
- Render : Luigi Tambuscio
- Work Supervision : SCE Project Srl, Società Italiana di Ingegneria e Servizi Srl, Studio di Ingegneria Rigone
- Facade Design : Maffeis Engineering Spa
- Plants Design : ESA Engineering Srl
- General Contractor : ATI between Setten Genesio SpA, Bouygues E&S InTec Italia SpA, Metalsigma Tunesi SpA
- City : Milano
- Country : Italy
Text description provided by the architects. Campus Symbiosis of ICS Milan International School is part of Area Symbiosis, the Covivio Business District in Porta Romana in Milan. The building has a very recognisable identity shape and is wrapped in a fluid system of curves that envelops the whole. The lot on which it stands is not large, so the project has compressed the volumes and spaces as much as possible, generating a "vertical school" in which interior spaces of double and triple heights and exterior spaces such as terraces and loggias follow one after the other, "climbing" the building. In defining the interior design and the outdoor spaces, Barreca & La Varra also involved current students of ICS Milan and students from Milan's high schools in workshops that led to stimulating contamination of design ideas, responding to the needs of the building's future users.
The ground floor, where the indoor collective activities (canteen, gym, swimming pool, and auditorium) open up to the city and to the large outdoor playground equipped for outdoor activities (athletics track and multifunctional sports field), is connected to the top of the building by extremely rich spaces, characterised by strong internal verticality. On the outside, of particular importance is the role of the auditorium roof, which is used as a recreational area in continuity with the interior spaces, with a covered part that allows shelter from the rain.
This terrace is also connected to the one on the first floor (the roof of the indoor sports areas in connection with the canteen), which in turn is connected by a monumental staircase to the outdoor playground. The two terraces are connected both visually and materially by the shell, which near the opening on the ground floor between the auditorium and the gymnasium is interrupted to create an open-air space, a patio with a tree, which increases the amount of light and air entering the ground floor. The school cycles are organised upwards on the third, fourth, and fifth floors to offer older students a wider and deeper horizon.
The configuration of the standard floor is that of a double body with a central distribution, along which there is access to all the school rooms and services. The corridor, however, is not only conceived as a link between different areas, but as a place to rest that promotes sociability among the students of the different classes: the "compression and decompression" of this space is achieved through a non-constant section and coloured wooden panelling that creates equipped walls and design "lounges" near the entrances to the classrooms.
At the end of the corridors, special rooms - including a circular one equipped with bookshelves - have been created, which take light from the "cuts" in the envelope and create more intimate and silent social environments that can also be used by teachers. Large glass surfaces and finely worked metals allow the façades to interact with their surroundings, reacting in an iridescent way. The view of the façade is enriched by a three-dimensional treatment of the glass façade, which is set on two different planes, interacting with sunlight and reflections from the surroundings in different ways depending on the depth.
The shell, an element of unity of the building, is made of a sophisticated sheet metal with a double process (stretching and subsequent crumpling) which changes its appearance according to the proximity of the observer. The structure is a mix of steel and concrete and was designed to optimise site time, with prefabricated areas (auditorium, gymnasium, and floor slabs) and areas built on site to adapt precisely to the shape of the building.