pardini hall architecture unveils their proposal to transform an old brutalist mill in lucca, italy, into a multifunctional cultural center. covering an area of 20,000 sqm, the ‘savarin’ project is designed to include museums, shops, restaurants, galleries, cinemas, and office/studio spaces, set within a green network of public gardens, running tracks, and sports camps. 

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all images courtesy of pardini hall architecture



besides restoring the old concrete construction, pardini hall architecture has installed new glass box structures to create connections between the three pre-existing main blocks and the stepped green bridges, terraces, and staircases. this new design enables people to walk up the buildings all the way to the rooftops, revealing unexpected new public spaces and views across the city. glass panels that range from three to seven meters in height, form the longer walls of the pavilions and of the bridges, and a diagonal wood structure forms the roofs. the roof panels will be open to allow trees to reach their height, while some will be enclosed to cover the footpaths and the seating areas. 

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not seeking to compete with the robust materiality of this historic building, the lobby is transparent and gently catches the attention of passers-by, inviting them in. bright colors and natural flooring are used as interior finishes, contrasting with the existing concrete textures. the ground floor features restaurants, bars, a library, an auditorium and other common spaces open to the public. the basement comprises the gym area, the hot yoga spot, the swimming pool, and the spa facilities.

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the upper floors house the gallery, with levels 2 and 3 including exhibition spaces for contemporary art. levels 4 and 5 incorporate artist studios, where they can live and work in, as well as artisanal studio, to work and sell as a small market. level 6 accommodates the cinema, along with a recreational area with ping pong, football tables, and spaces to relax. level 7 and 8 will be for the restaurants, kitchens, bars, and cookery schools.

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pardini hall architecture’s design is characterized by a landscaped, sheltered public park on the roof, accessible from ground level by connecting bridges. the movement and access throughout the building are designed to be intuitive, with escalators, lifts and staircases leading towards the same areas, providing a legible and inclusive experience to all visitors. the park and the rest of the building are enclosed by distinctive pavilions, which wrap around the building like a protective shell. these roofs open to draw in light and rain for natural irrigation. 

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timber was an appropriate material to enclose the park – it is organic in nature and appearance, strong, adaptable and is sustainably sourced. the area around the buildings is designed to encourage people to use the new park and shops at the weekend – as well as during the week – creating a lively new community facility. most public areas will be naturally ventilated, making use of passive cooling measures, and the development features rainwater harvesting and grey-water recycling, adding to its sustainable credentials. the solar panels in the parking area and the sports area, will provide for the energy necessary.

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project info:


name: the mill
architecture office: pardini hall architecture
location: lucca, tuscany, italy



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edited by: myrto katsikopoulou | designboom