Laude Living Bologna is the focus of an urban redevelopment project in Bologna’s close-in outskirts. A new concept of student housing by Open Project and TP Bennett, it is envisioned both as a gathering place and as a landmark with low ecological impact for the neighborhood.
In Bologna, non-resident university students are one of the groups with the most intensive housing needs. One answer to this demand, in the footsteps of new trends from northern Europe offering innovative, integrated housing solutions for young people, is Laude Living Bologna a new student residence designed by Open Project in the historically working-class neighborhood of Bolognina. A 15-minute walk from the central university area, Laude Living Bologna fits into a redevelopment of the urban built fabric, also connecting to the city’s green space of the adjacent park. It strives to become a creative hub conceived as a point of gathering for the local community and a landmark with low environmental impact for the neighborhood.
“Students make up a fertile environment for ideas,” says Francesco Conserva, vice president of Open Project and partner with Maurizio Piolanti. “We planned and designed around the individual’s needs to make a creative hub where new connections can be forged, with an eye to the importance of relation- ships and social life. It is also a gathering point for the neighborhood, a chance to make the local com- munity central and reconnect it with the university district and the many stimuli that this sparks, a place that can be an inspiration for the international world of students who live in or travel through Bologna.” Designed and built based on a concept developed with TP Bennett, the student complex rises 16 floors above ground with a basement, for a total area of 20,000 square meters. The large building can accommodate over 500 beds, with mini-apartments with individual bathrooms and kitchens, as well as many large ancillary common spaces – including open spaces – for socializing, sports, leisure, and, of course, study. The façade is punctuated with linear, graphic precision with window sections in line with the rooms alternating with solid parts. The neutral hues of the façades let the structure fit harmoniously into the surrounding environment. The interiors, in contrast, are striking for their pop aesthetics with a vibrant explosion of energetic colors and contrasting combinations. The bright colors of the walls and custom furnishings add to the intense impact of the tailor-made wallpapers designed by TP Bennett with a graffiti effect, creating diverse interiors with common color palettes. The interior design encompasses an industrial style, making ample use of metal elements and leaving the building systems completely on view, partly in tribute to the building’s history, previously a factory for railway carriages. The apartments, study rooms, and private dining areas are powered by heating systems and intelligent energy-saving systems, which can be controlled remotely by BMS and have low ecological impact, which has earned the building LEED® Gold certification.
“Architecture plays a crucial role in the redevelopment of neighborhoods and can also redefine the relationship between a city and its university. Student housing, in particular, often acts as a magnet for talent, fostering creative and entrepreneurial innovation, becoming a pivotal opportunity for cultural promotion and comprehensive community development. Such spaces prove fundamental, shaping not only the professionals of the future but also exerting a significant influence on the identity of modern city dwellers. This is why, during both the design and construction phases, creating new spaces that coexist harmoniously with the city is essential as is seamlessly integrating them into the urban environment and having the capacity to spur processes of change. The most recent project, Laude Living Bologna, reflects advancements made in student accommodation. Transcending the conventional notion of a dormitory, the building serves as a space for sharing and collaborative studying, while fostering recreation and creativity. These aspects are vital for the development of young men and women, cultivating their ability to establish connections with others and share their visions of the future because exchanging with others is how we form our identities.”
Vice President Open Project