International contest for the new sports complex in Vercelli. First prize

The project for the museum and the sports hall for the city of Vercelli is the result of an international competition won in 2005.

The new settlement completes a large urban lot that contains a park, a football field, and a square now used as a parking lot. the museum and the “Palazzetto”, the two main functions, have been placed in the same building that takes up the edge of the lot adjoining the street on three sides. the fourth side overlooking the football field adjusts its volume to the presence of some ancient trees to be preserved. The design theme included the arrangement of the square with the underground parking.

The building structure is metallic. The roof of the Palazzetto consists of a semicircular spatial structure. The museum, organized on three floors, also has metal pillars and floor slabs. the building can hold about 1000 people. The gym, required for similar activities, is located at the head of the field and can be transformed into a stage for various shows (concerts, theater, etc.). The changing rooms and technical rooms are located on the underground floor. the museum includes some exhibition rooms, a book shop and a cafeteria. This, located on the ground floor, has direct access to the garden.

The west facade of the complex overlooking Via Derna can be considered the main facade and consists of a full-height steel colonnade that supports the metal roofing structure. The rhythm of the colonnade is modulated by the various functions it contains: towards the north, it defines a high portico that gives access to the entrance hall of both the museum and the Palazzetto; proceeding along, the colonnade supports the windows that give light to the distribution paths protected by “brise soleil”; further on, they disappear covered by a sheet metal wall to ensure the darkening of the gym and services.

The entrance hall expands in height for three floors, allowing the functions of the different floors to be viewed in a single space. The east facade, towards the football field, is partly closed to protect the internal field from the light and partly glazed with exposed steel columns that support a large window looking over the garden. The north and south facades aim to dialogue with the neighboring context. To the north, the facade takes up some elements of the nineteenth-century barracks located opposite; to the south, the facade is divided into two superimposed surfaces to make the volume of the headroom less invasive. From this side, there is also access to the offices of the Pro-Vercelli headquarters.

As a whole, “the object” peremptorily occupies all the available space of the lot, differentiating its views in relation to the internal functions and their needs. In this way, a double understanding can be obtained: to guarantee architecture a compositional rigor punctuated by the colonnade, offering a strong image in keeping with the spirit of the post-medieval part of the city of Vercelli and, on the other hand, attributes to the complex a communicative capacity that anticipates the recreational and cultural functions it contains. Large writings on the walls offer the first information and weaken the monumentality.

Project team:

Derossi Associati (Arch. Pietro Derossi, Paolo Derossi, Davide Derossi) architectural project;

Eng. Alberto Ferrarotti- structural project;

Prodim S.r.l.(ing. Matteo Bo) – technical systems project;

Ugo De La Pierre – geological study;

Arch. Cristina De Marco – architectural project.




Contest – First prize