Il Centro - Arese Shopping Centre

Il Centro - Arese Shopping Centre

Arese /Milan, Italy
Architect: Michele De Lucchi

From 1963 to 2002 the Arese district was home to the headquarters of Alfa Romeo - the famous Italian carmaker brand. Manufactured here were legendary cars like Giulia, Alfetta, the Alfa6, Giulietta or Alfa Spider to name just a few. In 2013 the industrial building-refurbishment transformed the old sheds into a shopping mall –one of the largest in Europe. Its aim was to give new business dynamic to the area by exploiting the location’s advantage. Aaddtionally, was also the willingness to keep the ‘car spirit’ of the area. As a result Historical Museum and Showroom of Alfa Romeo was created. Moreover, the old racetrack has been modernized, in the place where before Alfa Romeo car-tests took place, now there is a 1.500 meters long free race-circuit which is sponsored by ACI-Safery Drive Center. The main idea behind this project is to propagate responsible driving and to promote motor show exhibitions.

The structure of the Shopping Center is designed by a worldwide renowned architect Michele de Lucchi, who was inspired by the geometric features of the traditional architecture in Northern Italy, namely: “Corti Lombarde” (ancient courts of Lombardy) which can be found in the ancient rural residencies like villa Valera. Pergolas, arcades and squares are some of the elements that characterize this type of architecture. In the shopping-center itself, emblems of this style can be found in the exterior façade of the entrance and the inner large hexagonal square. Right from this point onwards the translucent gallery begins: in total surface of 120.000m2. The shopping mall has two levels and accommodates around 205 shops, 25 restaurants, several play areas, a sports center and a medical surgery.

This striking building is characterized by an imposing translucent roofing that makes the immense hall look much lighter. It enhances the visibility of wooden beams and allows natural light to penetrate the inside of the building. These elements offer visitors an experience of walking through the streets of a typical ancient Italian town center.
17.000m2 of modular PC multiwall panels in opal colour were installed to allow daylight in the interior of the mall. Polycarbonate has facilitated the diffusion of the light reducing at the same time the radiation which is normally caused by a transparent surface. Furthermore the particular IR-surface treatment on the panels’ external wall allowed to block the passage of infrared rays that would cause a temperature rise inside of the building.

Additionally, 7 sheet walls with a higher quantity of internal air chambers allows reducing thermal transmission during the winter period.
The combination of these elements has ensured a good performance in terms of thermal transmittance [U], which reduces the air conditioning and lighting costs. Further technical peculiarity of the project comes from the Dott.Gallina production capacity which allows for single co-extrusion. Thanks to this it was possible to produce 31m long PC panels which do not have continuity joints and as a result they help to minimalize infiltration risk. The easy handling of these bulky panels was possible thanks to the light weight of multiwall polycarbonate.

The entire project was developed following strict criteria regarding energy saving and bio-sustainability. In fact the external columns made in green marble of Italian Alps, the presence of several shady green areas, the use of precious Glulam wood (whose chromaticism is transformed over time) are the visible elements of a functional Green-oriented strategy. The goal is to create a structure where the technological advantages would be combined with natural elements. In this context, the polycarbonate helped to maximize two essential resources such as light and heat.