Thesis title:
The fabric block

Date of discussion:
December 2022

Riccardo Finardi, Lorenzo Mennuti

Professors of the Studio:
Francesca Battisti (Architectural Design)
Grigor Angjeliu (Structural and Seismic Design)
Massimiliano Nastri (Sustainable Technology)
Francesco Romano (Services Design for Sustainable Buildings)
Giovanni Dotelli (Sustainable Materials for Architecture)

The subject of this thesis is the development of a “large-scale” research building within the Innovation Campus in Paris Saclay. The main research themes lie between architecture and urbanism: firstly, the definition of a systematic building “plan”, with a strong character of modularity and replicability, which draws inspiration and reinterprets the “mat-building” tradition and typology. Then, the correlation between building “plan”, constructive scheme and architectural language, down to the scale of the façade detail.
Three main elements define the urban and design strategy: grid, blocks and urban cuts. The main “urban cut”, which diagonally crosses the orthogonal grid defined by the master plan, creates an tilted grid on which the entire “structure” of the new research centre is defined. Following a specific rule based on the need for a clear and defined “urban” organisation, this main axis defines a series of functional blocks.
This organization takes on fabric-like characteristics and a virtual growth potential that collides with the reality of the urban condition of the grid. This creates a tension between the scale of the building and the scale of the city, displayed by a façade that is in fact a section. The constructive detail of the internal façade, on the other hand, which is the result of the “extraction” of a series of modular elements, expresses the construction type and reveals the structural frame.

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