‘The Cloud’ – Centro Congressi Nuvola

Viale Asia, Roma, Italy

Fuksas has designed the ‘New Rome-EUR convention center and hotel’ which forms the city’s largest building in more than half a century. The major complex has been named ‘The Cloud’, and after 18 years of planning and construction, the scheme is now open to the public. The complex comprises three distinct architectural concepts: the ‘theca’ — a longitudinally-oriented steel and glass box; the ‘cloud’ — a geometrically undefined shape positioned inside the ‘theca’; and the ‘blade’ — an autonomous edifice containing a 439-room hotel.

Made from a combination of metal, glass and reinforced concrete, the ‘theca’ is the outer shell and façade of the convention hall and hotel. The focal point of the scheme is the ‘cloud’, a steel-ribbed structure clad with a translucent curtain measuring a total of 15,000 square meters. This part of the design exists in direct contrast with the rational building that surrounds it. The final architectural gesture is the ‘blade’ — a separate building split into 17 floors, which includes a hotel, seven boutique suites, a spa, and a restaurant.

From an environmental standpoint, a number of sustainable features have been integrated within the design. Air-conditioning is carried out by a reversible heat pump, capable of achieving high energy performances while reducing electricity consumption. A natural ventilation system, which uses the cool water of a nearby lake. Rooftop photovoltaic panels help to produce energy, while simultaneously protecting the building from overheating through the mitigation of solar radiation. A rainwater harvesting system uses exterior panels to collect water and filter it into a storage tank for on-demand use.

Fiera Di Milano

Strada Statale Sempione, 28, Rho, milano, Italy

In an effort to attract large-scale world-class conventions and exhibitions, the city of Milan embarked on an ambitious plan to build a $700 million trade show complex. Massimiliano Fuksas was engaged to bring to life a new design that would house exhibition halls, auditoriums, conference rooms, restaurants and cafes, meeting halls, and office spaces for the Fiera administration. What would emerge from the recently reclaimed brownfields was a Fiera that covers 2.1 million square feet and stretches nearly a mile.

Massimiliano garnered inspiration from the intrinsic elements of the surrounding landscape. The concept was further refined through numerous iterations within the digital realm, which played a critical role in maintaining the continuity of the original sculptural sketch/model  – and in the eventual fabrication of the fluid fabric-like canopy that runs the entire length of the Fiera.

Fuksas dealt with the expansiveness of the 8 separate structures by orienting them inwards towards the central spine covered with a glass canopy that functions akin to that of a central street.  In order to demarcate the various functions of the buildings, the exhibition halls have orange facades facing towards the canopy, the restaurants and cafes that line the open air corridor feature curvilinear facades and stand on pillars, the meeting halls feature stainless steel cladding and hover at walkway height, and the office spaces are contained within glass boxes that line the walkway.