Municipal Gymnasium, GIUSSANO

Giussano Municipal Gymnasium (Mi).
1997 – 2003 


Sustainable gymnasium  


The gymnasium, which had to include courts for net ball and volleyball, was not only aimed at primary school pupils but also other users. Generally these structures follow the simple typology of prefabricated hangars, but our building was to be inserted in a semi-urban fabric, between different habitations.


Thanks to the presence of a small drop in the existing landscape it was possible to greatly reduce the visible volume of the building (about one third). The structure was lodged inside the landscape by about one metre and the services and changing areas were placed underground below two small green hills. It was further decided to position the building with respect to solar exposure in order to best optimise natural light for the playing courts and avoid glare for the athletes.


The principle façade was therefore positioned to the south and its upper windows protected by external sun shading. The north façade meanwhile was given large windows to maximise natural light without reflection. By organising the changing rooms underground (naturally lit by light wells) thermal advantages were gained – a difference of as much as 4/5 degrees with respect to the building over ground. This system permits as much heat savings in winter as cooling in summer.


The gymnasium is covered by a single slope roof to create air movement and natural ventilation induced by window openings along the opposite façade: the window openings move heat upwards and consent the atmosphere to be cleaned without the necessity for further resources  – a natural salubrity.


With regard to the materials, the choice was obviously conditioned by technical reasoning, but with the challenge of balancing the best possible solution with cost problems. Sandwich cladding panels, usually used for hangars, were chosen but in this case ennobled and enriched by certain details to guarantee a superior architectural dignity to the exterior. Horizontal bands inserted between one panel and another generate shadow and give the façade geometry destined to change according to the light.


Internally instead, we opted for laminated timber which not only allows for a more slender structure but also combats noise disturbance with its ability to absorb sound. The forms of its thin layers have the effect of cutting sound waves and avoiding the type of echo that usually characterises these types of large spaces.


A multipurpose structure with vehicle access for scholars, athletes and public (100-spectator capacity in the tiered viewing gallery) realised in an area destined for park use where there is foreseen other sports fields, the gymnasium is an example of sustainable architecture: confirmed by its low powered heating plant.



Client Comune di Giussano
Surfaces lot 5,000 sq.m; building 1,300 sq.m.
Frigerio Design Group Definitive / Executive project
Team E. Frigerio with M. Ragno (head of project), F. Biassoni, S. Degli Innocenti, K. Scott
Engineering Ing. P. Talon
Mechanical engineering  Ing. E. Balzaretti
Drainage and hydraulic system Ing. M. Spataro
Site architect Arch. E. Frigerio