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Inaugurated in March 2015, the new laboratories for energy-chemical research and nuclear research at the Polytechnic University of Milan cover an area of over 6,000 square metres and comprise 3 buildings situated in a central position on the La Masa Campus. The STEAM design project primarily arose from the need to make the entire Campus area an “open” one, for use by all types of user without the presence of fences that establish borders.

The proposed buildings formally replicate the surrounding buildings with their industrial character, introducing, in its underlying principles, a contrast with nature and the exploitation of its resources. The use of photovoltaic panels on the high strip of the south-facing façade, thermal solar panels on the roof, a green roof on the “High Pressure” building, a wood brise soleil, as well as vegetated wall cladding for the eastern staircase are intended to reinforce this contrast and, as far as possible, give the buildings eco-sustainable design.

The mechanical systems were designed according to the following principles:

  • high flexibility and adaptability to changing frontiers in research;
  • high safety levels for operators (safety first);
  • high-performance controls of experimental conditions;
  • control of dispersion into the environment of toxic and hazardous substances;
  • reduction in energy consumption;
  • reduction in points of emission;
  • easy maintenance.

The electrical systems were designed considering the work environment as a “cultural laboratory with a variable structure”, where a static concept of the systems provided is not acceptable, since plant engineering needs to be able to transform into a multi-purpose set-up that allows it to be used in many ways. Therefore, the plant engineering adopted has the following key features:

  • flexibility
  • re-configuration
  • safety
  • energy efficiency
  • economies in management