Rooftop infrastructure fun

The central heating plant emerges along the banks of the Isarco river as an unusual figure within the town of Bressanone; the structure, typically industrial in character, bends and flexes to accept other programs and transforms itself into an ephemerally illuminated object at night.


The floor plan adapts to the constrained conditions of the site and moves from a rectilinear configuration—prompted initially by the logic of the machinery—to a trapezoidal form; the residual gaps between the two forms become the technical spaces for the ventilation and control systems.

The core concrete-body contains all the machinery necessary for the generation of the electrical and gas-oil combined energy that is then channeled into the town’s energy grid.  This 4,50 m high concrete volume is partially excavated into the ground and is punctured by only a few apertures for ventilation. 

Hung from the metal structure above, the double-skinned curtain of stainless-steel metal mesh rises and dips around the core concrete volume in a spiral—transforming the building into a transparent, luminous cage that shimmers with its moirè effect up to a height of 10 meters.  The roof of the building is accessed by a large ramp and is an extension of the river-bank walking paths, to become not only a protected skate-park, but also a meeting point for the town’s younger generation.

The world of the machine, with all its incumbent generators, boilers, pumps and transformers, is revealed by the large window located along the nearby bicycle path, as well as by the collection of ventilation chimneys grouped together in an angle.  During the evening, the plant is illuminated by a perimeter system of 3-colored LED lighting that communicated by changing its colour according to the amount of energy being produced at the time.