At the time of its construction, since the bank was being built as the last new construction among the pre-existing buildings, Camponovo had to reconcile the need for restraint as regards the form and his desire to explore the expressive potential of the materials. The general dreariness of the buildings along the road leading out of town, like a mosaic with motley pieces, led the architect to approach this fragmented situation by aligning all the perspectives within the rigid confines of the urban spaces. With this in mind, Camponovo designed two non-perpendicular wings connected by a sinuous glass wall, thereby creating a truly distinctive element of the project. This (almost Baroque) architectural license is contrasted by the severity of the façades, which have a strict geometric design, stark polished white Carrara marble, and frameless windows. Although the volumes, with their subtle formal suspension, seek to harmonize with the pre-existing buildings, a definite break resulted from the architect’s desire to use materials that would contribute light and monumentality. The plan for the exterior spaces, with the meticulous geometry of marble and terracotta designed to stand out from the grey surroundings, and the attention paid to the interior details, enlivened by everchanging perspectives, are both taken up with evident satisfaction and no false modesty. Camponovo’s use of “noble” materials is a distinguishing feature of the project, and one with a precise significance; by rejecting the questionable tendency to use supposedly, but not truly, “poor” materials, the architect powerfully affirms the value of materials that on their own establish the distinct institutional character of the building. The marble and profuse use of terracotta as the fertile soil from which the architecture grows, together with the glass and the light, all function in thrilling synergy with the architectonic elements to trigger new emotional responses.
Banks and Financial Institutions, Projects