The Innovation Hub designed by OBR represents the most prominent public-use building in the MIND district developed by Lendlease in the former Milano Expo area. It will be the beating heart of the innovation district.
Like a two-faced Janus, the Innovation Hub faces both Gateway Square and the Central Plaza, contributing to the sequence of interconnected public spaces, starting from the Metro and Railway stations.
By bringing together educational, creative, cultural and research activities, the Innovation Hub is conceived as the manifesto of a renewed carbon zero environmental and social sensitivity.
The architecture of the Hub is an open cube of 36 meters on each side, characterized by two full-height colonnades which, like two pronaoses, overlook the public plazas. Two mirrored entrances connect the two pronaoses through the central courtyard, which vertically extends the public use of the Common Ground up to the panoramic roof garden on the top.
The public roof garden is protected by a large solar canopy, the “energy flying carpet”, which with its 1,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels, draws the “fifth elevation”: a passive and an active device that offers shelter and generates energy (200 megawatts per hour/year) contributing to the needs of the building. It lights up during the night, and it recharges during the day.
The wooden structure is planned according to the DFMA – Design for Manufacturing and Assembly method. It is designed to keep the interior free from any constraints for a more open, permeable and flexible working space. The Hub is a condenser of energies that aggregates multiple activities during the year, a place where something always happens.
More than an isolated building, the Innovation Hub is conceived as an “open system” characterized by a dialogic architecture: it starts by listening to the users, and it is designed around time, even before space, accepting future changes and responding to the fluctuating desires of its future inhabitants. A public space always alive for experimentation and inclusion.