Type: commission
Client: Apm Containers Industries – GLF
Size: 7.000 mq sb/ 18.000 mq terrain
Location: Vado Ligure, Italy
Status: Under Construction
Copyright: 2015 © Studio Rolla s.r.l., Roberto Pagnano, Giuseppe Esposito
Team: Stefano Comba, Michele Santarelli, Samuele Fuda


The new building for the commercial port offices of Vado Ligure (Savona) was created to host the management staff of cargo handling on the constructed container platform that, on the national scene, will be one of the greatest. In fact, with its 750 meters long and 300 meters wide, will absorb an important cargo container handling, now concentraded on the port of Genoa.

The office building, in addition to its natural function, will play the role of real threshold between the city and the container platform, submitted to the port authority regime and, in this way, will act as the sole interface between the town and the areas destined to goods.

Its total area is 6.000 square meters, distributed over a lenght of 130 meters to a depth of 20; the ground floor is a real “novel” at service of port functions, with a workshop for the repair of heavy vehicles long 60 meters and high 14, located on the side closest to the cliff. The oder half is occupied by 16 gates for the passage of trucks, conceived as a sequence of stilts (high up to 14 meters) that marks the rhythm of the entrances to the platform.

The contained functions are quite different; from the workshop to the container handling control room, from the offices to the changing rooms which hosts all the platform operators (about 600), until the dining hall that can hold up to 150 people. This wide range of services required a great job, made “four hands” with the customers, to agree on a “typical session” that can handle this complexity and return a final image that gave the volume a strong identity and a perfect link with the type of activities carried out.

For these reasons was decided to “collect”, this series of functions, in a curve that contains them all, while declaring their diversity decisively.

The building appears constituted by the following elements:

•       The workshop block, designed with in view reinforced concrete facade

•       The sequence of stilts that distributes the truck’s gates

•       A “ship”, the 5th ship to be precise (considered the 4 berths for container ships deployed on the perimeter of the platform), that rests on the elements first described of the ground floor

This distribution of masses simplifies and harmonises the volumes, while leaving highly visible the initial idea of “building/threshold”.

The structure choosed for the construction of the building is in reinforced concrete, declined as needed in a cultured and intelligent way (thanks to the valuable work of the engeneering office “S.t.i.m.a.” based in Pistoia), and perfectly suited to an organization of very complex volumes; where stilts, high up to 14 meters, are constituted by steel tubes of 60 centimeters diameter used as formwork with inside a pillar made of reinforced concrete. The structure of the workshop is, togheter with the stairs block, a large stiffering big box, and the floors are made of ribbed slabs to a single span of 20 meters.

The facade is made in a very easy way, with white aluminium countertops mounted so as to ensure optimal aeration of the interscape, aspect in this case even more important, being the building in front of the sea and therefore more exposed to the weathering.