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Giacomo Zanella Primary School

Giulia de Appolonia

Shared By

Symone Garvett

Project Name

Giacomo Zanella Primary School

Project Status


Year Completed



22,604 sq. feet


Comune di Villafranca


  • Structural Engineer: H&B/F. Palmieri
  • Other: Tesis/Planex

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Project Description


The project area is located in the outskirts of Villafranca and Verona, between the urban core and the agricultural land. The more distinctive presence is the "strada della Rizza" around which is structured the small village Rizza, that’s a quite busy output axis of Verona.

The new building is designed as a reconstruction and expansion of a previously existing one lying parallel to the “strada della Rizza” and looks like an inhabited wall that protects the school from the nearby road. For this reason, it present a 3.5m high basement in concrete without any windows that look like an infrastructure’s construction.

The upper floor facade is fully coated with polycarbonate with a strong insulation coefficient, with gray tones to the outside and white to the inside. In this way light coming inside the classroom is not modified in its colour by the exterior colour of the facade. The classrooms thus have an entire wall producing natural diffused light.

The gap between outside polycarbonate and inside glass facades is ventilated in the bottom by a grid and in the top by motorized windows to improve the thermal behaviour of the building.

This building facade is the natural ending of the square existing in front of the church, on the opposite side of the “ strada della Rizza”. The relation between this two public buildings aim to create a complex urban space and to requalify in this way the whole area.

The creation of a small public space in the side of the school intended to receive the pedestrian flow coming front the car parking in front of the church, has the same aim.

The entrance hall opens with its double high in a secondary street and works like a filter between public and private space inviting you to enter and stay.

In opposition with the cold colours and materials existing in the “ strada della Rizza” side of the building, this entrance side and the garden one present some coloured parts .

The shelter existing in front of the entrance hall, outside the school fence, is an important element of urban mediation because it relate the double high element of the entrance with the scale of the detached houses existing in around.

The inside of the building is dominated by colours by the use of a specific material called “valchromat” (a mix of wood fibers with resin, paste coloured and available in the colours of the natural oxide) to develop a real chromatic identity path for the small users of the building.

Thanks to its adaptability and its high technical performance, this material is used indistinctly as a wall cladding, and to create furniture and doors in particular in the classrooms and library that presents a fitted wall.

The intervention in the existing building is a seismic energy efficiency upgrading, building renovation as well as a refunctionalisation of the basement, initially organized as an open space and finally configured as a small auditorium and two special classrooms ( art and informatics).

The facades intervention involves new windows frames, an insulated coat in opaque parts and a double skin made with polycarbonate vertical strips that relate the old building with the new one giving it a contemporary image.

The different yellow tones of the polycarbonate reflects the colours of the garden and define a changing aesthetic, sensible to the different hours of the day and the different seasons.
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