On its 50th anniversary, Fondazione Agnelli in Turin has transformed its 20th-century building into an App-controlled structure offering a glimpse of the workplace of the future. The project led by Carlo Ratti Associati features see-through co-working spaces, indoor communal courtyards filled with natural light from above and a responsive lighting and heating system that follows occupants across the building to optimize energy consumption.
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“Digital technologies changed our way of working. Today we don’t need to do in the office things we can do remotely in a park, on a mountain retreat or at home. Yet, we do need to reach a workplace to interact with colleagues and other professionals. Here we can achieve better results by staying together rather than working independently.” Explains Carlo Ratti.
THE PROJECT -The renovation project occupies the historic building where the Agnelli family founded the Italian automotive company Fiat of Fiat-Chrysler, a 1950s extension and a garden. The complex will host the Talent Garden co-working space which will be open 24/7 and Fondazione Agnelli head quarters.
All offices are defined by see-through rooms meshing public and private while communal spaces were designed to trigger interaction. Carlo Ratti Associati re-created indoor courtyards filled with natural light from above. Here an artwork by Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson visually links the floors. In another courtyard a suspended net provides plenty of playful occasions to interact and relax.
INTERNET OF THINGS – Fondazione Agnelli is a digitally-augmented building able to adapt in real time to its users’ needs. Hundreds of sensors monitor different sets of data, including the location of the building’s occupants, temperature, CO2 concentration and the availability of meeting rooms. By interacting with the Building Management System (BMS) via a smartphone App, visitors and employees can customize their workspace experience and even call an end to the current ‘thermostat wars’ in the office.
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BIG DATA – The project was conceived starting from an extensive study of the building’s heritage and analyzing data from students and professionals working and moving through the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technologies, where Carlo Ratti directs the MIT Senseable City Lab.
“Thanks to real time analysis of networks and GPS we found out that people in the campus is professionally active 7 days a week and pretty much at all hours of the day and the night. We also discovered that they don’t only work traditional spaces like libraries and office rooms but also communal areas and gardens. That’s why the Fondazione Agnelli architecture was designed as a fluid workspace offering as many chances to work and interact as possible”.
THE GARDEN – Indeed, the garden was designed as an outdoor office extension in collaboration with Luis Benech. “Today people can work in an orchard as well as in an office. Humans have always worked surrounded by nature, digital technologies can bring that status back” adds Carlo Ratti.
All photos by Beppe Giardino – Courtesy of Carlo Ratti Associati.