Intesa’s Turin tower is named one of the 10 most environmentally friendly new buildings in the world

Numerous technologies reduce the 38-storey tower’s carbon footprint. Moreover, it is a public amenity as well as the bank’s offices, says Giulia Rhodes.

Giulia Rhodes

05/01/2015

Intesa Sanpaolo’s iconic new skyscraper in Turin has been awarded the prestigious LEED Platinum certification – the highest rating issued by the leading authority on sustainable buildings, the Green Building Council.

The only high-rise building in Europe to warrant this accolade, it is one of the 10 most environmentally friendly newly constructed tall buildings in the world.

Soaring 166 metres above the city, the 38-storey tower took five years to build and an investment of around €500 million.

It was designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop – responsible for many of the most celebrated tall buildings around the globe.



Already home to more than 2,000 of the group’s employees, the bank’s new headquarters offers contemporary office space to senior management and personnel from departments including the innovation centre, risk management, loans and Intesa Sanpaolo group services.

Key to the building’s design, though, is the belief that it must function not only as workspace but also as a public amenity.

“The citizens must accept it and use it
in their day-to-day lives”

architect Renzo Piano has said, describing the building as “environmental and social laboratory and an urban project”.

 

As part of the project the neighbouring Nicola Grosa Gardens public park received a €2.5 million redevelopment. The public can also enjoy the top three floors of the building, with stunning views to the snow-capped Alps which form Turin’s backdrop. Incorporating a lush, plant-filled naturally-ventilated conservatory – realising Piano’s vision of a “bioclimatic building” – this space includes a restaurant, an exhibition hall and a cafeteria with panoramic terrace. An auditorium – for concerts, exhibitions and conferences – at the tower’s base is also available.

 

While the tower’s effect on Turin’s cityscape may be striking, its impact on the environment has been minimised.

More than 20,000 visitors have already enjoyed the tower’s cutting-edge architecture and breath-taking views through open days organised by the bank.

Matched in height by only one other Turin building – the 19th-century Mole Antonelliana, which reaches 167.5 metres – the tower has been designed to complement its setting. Bright, white materials, such as transparent and opalescent glass and lacquered aluminium, give a luminescent, ice-like appearance, reminiscent of the mountain peaks, which changes with the light and season.

Energy consumption has been optimised by innovative design and cutting-edge materials and technologies.

A state-of-the-art, active double-skin facade – one of the world’s largest – on the east and west of the building, comprises two glass walls with a 2.5 metre cavity containing solar screens. Sensors monitor daily and seasonal weather conditions informing a central control system which opens and closes louvres to cool the solar screens in summer and reduce heat loss in winter, ensuring comfortable conditions year-round.

Electricity is provided by 1,600 square metres of photovoltaic panels – which cover the building’s southern facade – and hydroelectric sources, avoiding the need for traditional fuels in the building’s heating and cooling systems.

Harvested rainwater supplies both irrigation for the tower’s green planted areas and flushing systems in the bathrooms. Meanwhile lighting – over 80 per cent of which is LED – is actively controlled to account for varying natural light levels and occupancy.

In a city which celebrates Intesa Sanpaolo’s long history, the bank’s stunning new skyscraper is ready for its future.

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