Health and Fitness
Designed for wellness

Following the launch of Technogym’s new headquarters in Italy, we speak to architect Antonio Citterio about designing a building ‘around the human being’


Technogym’s new headquarters were launched in September 2012 in Cesena, Italy, in a huge opening celebration attended by Bill Clinton and the president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano.

Designed by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, the building houses Technogym’s production facilities and administration, a research and innovation laboratory, product showrooms, warehousing, a staff restaurant and a large wellness centre dedicated to physical exercise and education.

The facility is the brainchild of Technogym’s founder and president Nerio Alessandri, and brings together all of Technogym’s operations in one place for the first time.

“We wanted to create a place that would inspire the industry about wellness,” says Alessandri. “Wellness is not a concrete product. It’s an experience, and in order to understand it, you need to live it. We wanted to create a destination where our customers, our partners and all the industry stakeholders could come and understand our vision by experiencing it for themselves – where we can both listen to and inspire people, and contribute to the future of our industry.”

The two-level, 2,700sq m Wellness Centre is at the heart of this vision. The centre features a 5,000sq m gym on the upper floor – which is free for staff and visitors to use – and a medical centre and spa on the ground floor. The spa features a sauna, steamroom, hydropool and relaxation area, and offers a range of treatments. The Wellness Centre has been entirely designed in lamellar wood with glass walls providing views over the park.

Other features designed to reinforce the wellness message throughout the village include Swiss balls instead of chairs at desks, vending machines offering healthy snacks, the staff restaurant which serves healthy, low-fat organic and locally-sourced food and Technogym equipment placed throughout the offices so staff can take short breaks to exercise during their working day. Staff are entitled to a personalised exercise and nutrition plan, and there's a wide range of activity choices available on the site, from Nordic walking to basketball and volleyball (there is a court on-site).

The location for the Technogym Village was chosen for its proximity to the A14 motorway, helping with transportation of products and also ensuring that the facilities are highly visible to the outside world.

 Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners have designed a very simple structure using a mixture of pre-fabricated elements in steel and reinforced concrete. The building features a curved, wooden roof, with a lamellar wood and glass façade. It has a range of environmentally-sustainable features including a building management system that automatically responds to the positioning of the sun, lowering blinds and opening windows in order to adjust light and temperature naturally as much as possible. Inside, the offices are organised on two sides, while the central area of the building houses the services, open plan work areas and meeting spaces.


Antonio Citterio
Architect, Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel & Partners


 PHOTO: © Wolfgang Scheppe
 

Antonio Citterio
 

What inspired the design of the Technogym Village?
In order to stay in tune with the concept of ‘wellness’, the new Technogym Village was organised as a horizontal complex, extending into the landscape – more like a college campus than a corporate facility. We designed a place for teams of researchers, not somewhere that would look too institutional.

How would you sum up the design?
Due to its size and scope, the Technogym Village stands out like a territorial ‘marker’. Our work was concentrated on the integration of the complex with the landscape, starting with the large factory.

In the office block, the indoor-outdoor relationship has been accentuated by the orientation towards the park and the internal subdivision of the spaces with transparent partitions. There is widespread use of natural materials like lamellar wood for the roof of the factory and the office block, and for the entire load-bearing structure of the Wellness Forum.

What were the biggest challenges of of the project?
When you design a production facility, the theme is that of the economics of the construction system. You need to come up with a competitive idea. For the production facility we have designed a prefabricated structure in wood and concrete, produced in a factory and assembled on the worksite. We have managed to achieve great quality of the architectural details, while staying competitive in terms of costs.

What is your favourite part of the building?
The Wellness Forum – this building has an elliptical footprint and is located facing the office block. The gym is not just a showroom for the fitness machines and other gear, it is a true fitness club that can be used by the workers. We have designed a place where people might want to spend time outside of work hours, where the spaces (including the outdoor zones) can be used by employees during their leisure time as well as their work time.

The park has been organised in the same spirit, with its paths and its contours.


 


PHOTO: © Leo Torri

Glass walls let in natural light and offer views of the surrounding landscape

SUPPLIERS
Holzbau – wooden glulam beams
Iscom–metal roofs 
Sermeca – office building curtain wall
Uniform – wellness centre curtain wall
Fiemme 3000 D.K.Z. – wooden flooring
Gemino – glass partitions, office building
Barth Innenausbau KG, d. Ivo Barth GmbH. – millwork
Vitra – loose furniture, office building

Text around the building reinforces the healthy lifestyle message
In keeping with the emphasis on wellness, the restaurant serves healthy, locally-sourced food Credit: PHOTO © Leo Torri
Many of the desks are equipped with fabric wellness balls instead of chairs
The Wellness Center features a showroom of equipment as well as a 5,000sq m gym for staff
The architects have designed a sleek, simple building with a distinctive curved roof Credit: PHOTO: ©Leo Torri
 


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SELECTED ISSUE
Leisure Management
2013 issue 1

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Leisure Management - Designed for wellness

Health and Fitness

Designed for wellness


Following the launch of Technogym’s new headquarters in Italy, we speak to architect Antonio Citterio about designing a building ‘around the human being’

The 5,000sq m gym is free for staff and visitors to use
Text around the building reinforces the healthy lifestyle message
In keeping with the emphasis on wellness, the restaurant serves healthy, locally-sourced food PHOTO © Leo Torri
Many of the desks are equipped with fabric wellness balls instead of chairs
The Wellness Center features a showroom of equipment as well as a 5,000sq m gym for staff
The architects have designed a sleek, simple building with a distinctive curved roof PHOTO: ©Leo Torri

Technogym’s new headquarters were launched in September 2012 in Cesena, Italy, in a huge opening celebration attended by Bill Clinton and the president of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano.

Designed by Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners, the building houses Technogym’s production facilities and administration, a research and innovation laboratory, product showrooms, warehousing, a staff restaurant and a large wellness centre dedicated to physical exercise and education.

The facility is the brainchild of Technogym’s founder and president Nerio Alessandri, and brings together all of Technogym’s operations in one place for the first time.

“We wanted to create a place that would inspire the industry about wellness,” says Alessandri. “Wellness is not a concrete product. It’s an experience, and in order to understand it, you need to live it. We wanted to create a destination where our customers, our partners and all the industry stakeholders could come and understand our vision by experiencing it for themselves – where we can both listen to and inspire people, and contribute to the future of our industry.”

The two-level, 2,700sq m Wellness Centre is at the heart of this vision. The centre features a 5,000sq m gym on the upper floor – which is free for staff and visitors to use – and a medical centre and spa on the ground floor. The spa features a sauna, steamroom, hydropool and relaxation area, and offers a range of treatments. The Wellness Centre has been entirely designed in lamellar wood with glass walls providing views over the park.

Other features designed to reinforce the wellness message throughout the village include Swiss balls instead of chairs at desks, vending machines offering healthy snacks, the staff restaurant which serves healthy, low-fat organic and locally-sourced food and Technogym equipment placed throughout the offices so staff can take short breaks to exercise during their working day. Staff are entitled to a personalised exercise and nutrition plan, and there's a wide range of activity choices available on the site, from Nordic walking to basketball and volleyball (there is a court on-site).

The location for the Technogym Village was chosen for its proximity to the A14 motorway, helping with transportation of products and also ensuring that the facilities are highly visible to the outside world.

 Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel and Partners have designed a very simple structure using a mixture of pre-fabricated elements in steel and reinforced concrete. The building features a curved, wooden roof, with a lamellar wood and glass façade. It has a range of environmentally-sustainable features including a building management system that automatically responds to the positioning of the sun, lowering blinds and opening windows in order to adjust light and temperature naturally as much as possible. Inside, the offices are organised on two sides, while the central area of the building houses the services, open plan work areas and meeting spaces.


Antonio Citterio
Architect, Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel & Partners


 PHOTO: © Wolfgang Scheppe
 

Antonio Citterio
 

What inspired the design of the Technogym Village?
In order to stay in tune with the concept of ‘wellness’, the new Technogym Village was organised as a horizontal complex, extending into the landscape – more like a college campus than a corporate facility. We designed a place for teams of researchers, not somewhere that would look too institutional.

How would you sum up the design?
Due to its size and scope, the Technogym Village stands out like a territorial ‘marker’. Our work was concentrated on the integration of the complex with the landscape, starting with the large factory.

In the office block, the indoor-outdoor relationship has been accentuated by the orientation towards the park and the internal subdivision of the spaces with transparent partitions. There is widespread use of natural materials like lamellar wood for the roof of the factory and the office block, and for the entire load-bearing structure of the Wellness Forum.

What were the biggest challenges of of the project?
When you design a production facility, the theme is that of the economics of the construction system. You need to come up with a competitive idea. For the production facility we have designed a prefabricated structure in wood and concrete, produced in a factory and assembled on the worksite. We have managed to achieve great quality of the architectural details, while staying competitive in terms of costs.

What is your favourite part of the building?
The Wellness Forum – this building has an elliptical footprint and is located facing the office block. The gym is not just a showroom for the fitness machines and other gear, it is a true fitness club that can be used by the workers. We have designed a place where people might want to spend time outside of work hours, where the spaces (including the outdoor zones) can be used by employees during their leisure time as well as their work time.

The park has been organised in the same spirit, with its paths and its contours.


 


PHOTO: © Leo Torri

Glass walls let in natural light and offer views of the surrounding landscape

SUPPLIERS
Holzbau – wooden glulam beams
Iscom–metal roofs 
Sermeca – office building curtain wall
Uniform – wellness centre curtain wall
Fiemme 3000 D.K.Z. – wooden flooring
Gemino – glass partitions, office building
Barth Innenausbau KG, d. Ivo Barth GmbH. – millwork
Vitra – loose furniture, office building


Originally published in Leisure Management 2013 issue 1

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