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Between Bologna and the countryside
MERGE is the architectural marriage between Bologna and the countryside, two identities that together form a whole. The floorplan shifts like two interlocking hands, following the original concrete girders. The exterior is a joined exercise as well. The outside area, facade and roof are partly overgrown with edible plants, and are partly panelled and tiled. MERGE is an exciting, yet harmonious composition of niches and extrusions, of sun and shade, of Bologna and the countryside.
La tavola Italiana
In and around the building the countryside gets all the possibility to flourish. Seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs (the tastes of la tavola Italiana) are grown in the three guests-accessible patios and gardens. The products are used in the shop, herbal saunas, and in the restaurant where we placed a glass kitchen, wine corner and of course a real Italian table. Here, sharing a meal becomes sharing a moment, sharing taste, sharing friendship.
Il canale sotto i portici
Bologna presents itself powerful and full of class. The portico, the leading character of the city, is present everywhere in the design. The concrete beams and columns of the old factory form the foundation, the wooden first floor makes the porticos complete.
Through the building flows a continuous channel: il canale sotto i portici, the channel under the porticos. This is a reference to the medieval Bologna, where canals brought prosperity to the city. (Bologna’s beautiful ‘hidden channels’ are still visible in places like the Porta Galliera and Via Piella.)
The canal connects different areas and pools together. By underwater stairs where the water level is very low, the separate pools keep their own temperature.
A green and healthy heart
The function and the design of the building are one: health. Caring for people and concern for the planet. Some roof terraces and patios are covered with translucent solar panels, generating energy and giving subtle shade. Using an integrated heat pump and a rainwater recycling system, the patios for natural solar energy in all seasons and natural ventilation through the smart translucent facade, the building becomes CO2 neutral.
In addition, the building is equipped with high-end user oriented technology. In various rooms, visitors can make use of the latest technologies. Consider the possibility of conducting a body scan or follow training programs via TV screens, changing the atmosphere of an area using coloured lighting based on seasonal and weather circumstances, or projecting scenes from all over the world on ceilings and walls to add to the serene experience.
Merge is an architectural, hyper modern, user-friendly and sustainable solution to the question that arises when an existing building is being reused for a different function, merging not only the old city and the green fields around it, but also merging technology and serenity with history and the future.