University Of Palermo Science Departments

(Palermo. Italy) 1969-88

(Left) General plan of Gregotti's complex for the science departments of the University of Palermo

(Above) Aerial view of the buildings

Like many of the buildings of the critical regionalists in Spain, the complex of Gregotti's I University of Palermo stands in a historical town. However, the difference in attitude to location could hardly be greater between then and him. Whereas the critical regionalists see-to reflect the memory of a place in the' projects, Gregotti's buildings make not tte slightest concession to it.

The new science departments of the University of Palermo (chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics and geology) is not only Gregot ti's largest project, but one of the greatest in Italy in the last twenty years. For better or worse, the rejection of contextualism has yielded a functional megastructure that 1 almost approaches in scale the Aachen Hospi tal Complex by Weber & Brandt (pp. 168-71. although entirely different in terms of its street allocation system and its treatment of structure and sen/icing.

The complex of Gregotti's science departments is arranged on the axis of the presert Viale delle Scienze and laid out around a set of three elongated pedestrian precincts on differ ent levels, with all the science departments

(Left) General plan of Gregotti's complex for the science departments of the University of Palermo

(Above) Aerial view of the buildings

(Above) SHe section and elevations (Right) Detailed plan of a unit abutting onto them and the collective sen/ices for the student residences aligned along those. Each department consists of two connected blocks, one essentially intended for teaching preliminary courses and the other for advanced courses and research. Each of these blocks has two floors and a basement level for parking and services. The basic module for both construction and installations of each block is 7.20 metres square. In addition to its research block, the physics department has a workshop located along the axis of the research block. The vertical bearing elements are composed of a prefabricated double pillar (with an interaxis of 7.20 metres both ways) which will permit the vertical passage of the conduits and utilities - electric power lines, compressed air, gas, water pipes, distilled water supply, ventilation shafts, etc. These can then run horizontally, and open to inspection, under the prefabricated ceilings, which are so shaped as to permit the continuous horizontal arrangement of the conduits in both directions. This is the first earthquake-proof prefabricated and precompressed structure of any importance to be put up in Italy.

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