Incorporating Systems of Eccentricity
Configured as an interwoven series of building components, the Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank headquarters melds forms with landscape. Relieved of its obligation to serve as an institutional symbol, the Hypo bank headquarters is free to engage the specificity of context, climate, and environment with acute agility, resulting in a new icon for the bank, one that does not represent power or stability but instead responds constructively to its context. Following the line of inquiry of the earlier Hypo bank project outside Klagenfurt, Austria, the Udine, Italy, building is part “earth building,” engaging its contoured landscape, and part tower, leaning fourteen degrees to the south to shade itself from harsh solar exposure. Its form mediates between building, landscape, and climate, and thus it integrates the inherent complexities at the edge city’s shifting relations to the local, the rural, the suburban, the urban, and the metropolitan.
Located at the northern edge of Udine, in the town of Tavagnacco, the new headquarters for Hypo-Alpe-Adria Italy has developed as a dynamic and nuanced response to program and site. In this dialectical relationship between the specific architectural language of the project and the local landscape, each element informs, transforms, and adjusts the total composition. The result is a richly developed series of spaces and building elements.
Following the dictates of the program, the site is configured as an interwoven series of building components. Each of these individual parts is carefully organized around an elongated driveway, knitting together the disparate corners of the site. The overall effect is a wholly new precinct for Tavagnacco -- one that fulfills the functional and symbolic requirements of the Hypo bank while serving the nearby neighborhood with a series of public amenities. The centerpiece of the compositional strategy is the Hypo bank headquarters, located adjacent to the Tangenziale di Udine and immediately to the west of the autostrada. Occupying the extreme northeastern parcel of the 26-acre site, the bank building rises seven stories, an iconic landmark anchor for the site, highly visible and instantly recognizable from each approach. Various components of the banking facility are arrayed about the base of the building: a long sweeping low mass containing the secure archive wraps the surface parking lot to the east, while the auditorium and branch bank are located in order to establish a clear, legible, and secure public entry to the Hypo headquarters.
Various other program elements occupy the entire western edge of the site. At the southernmost location, the pool and fitness center form an integrated complex of buildings and outdoor spaces. In its overall architectural disposition, the pool simultaneously engages the neighborhood and public park to the south, as well as reaching back towards the Hypo headquarters in a strong diagonal gesture.
The Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank building utilizes a distinctive structure and an exterior envelope for sunshading to minimize solar heat gain without reducing the transmission of daylight below a useable level or compromising the view for the office occupants. The tower leans fourteen degrees toward the sun so that the upper floors shield the lower levels during the hottest summer months. A narrow floorplate provides ample access to natural daylight and the benefits of cross-ventilation through operable windows.