University Luigi Bocconi

Via Corrado Guglielmo Röntgen, 19. (Open Map)


The new Bocconi University building, located between Viale Bligny and Via Röntgen, is a good example of contemporary Milan. Its well-orchestrated architectural language, with carefully calibrated detailing and characteristics, expresses the city’s current vocation and its future aspirations. Its geometrical features are striking, with suspended space, natural lighting, and traditional local materials that have been adapted to the modern style. The building is a good illustration of the way in which the University is a dynamic location for the development of knowledge, receptive to the city and enriched by elements of tradition.The building was designed by the Irish company Grafton Architects, and more specifically by Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell, who won the design competition launched by the University in 2001.The building is used for all faculties of the Bocconi University, subdivided into 7 departments and with 24 research units. In addition, there are premises for conferences and meetings. It also comprises the new Great Hall, a theatre-type space for a thousand people. This public venue symbolically underlines the link between the Bocconi University and the city.From the architectural point of view, the design is based on two fundamental ideas: floating spaces, and the distribution of natural lighting.
The floor slabs of the five floors are not supported by pilasters, but are suspended from large girders by means of steel tension bars, in a structural system that can be compared to that used for suspension bridges.
The resulting effect is a succession of open interiors, staircases and components in reinforced concrete that give visitors the impression of being suspended in mid-air. The extensive glazed surfaces and openings reinforce this visual effect.The entrance is on Viale Bligny, a lively and traffic-filled city street. A large glazed surface provides a visual link between the main foyer of the Great Hall and the street, confirming that the building is receptive to the city as a whole.The exterior of the building is clad in ceppo stone, a material that has long been a feature of Milan’s architecture. It is a conglomerate, harder than concrete but of the same colour, quarried from riverbanks in the Lake Iseo region. It has been used extensively over the centuries for the façades of important buildings. This decision on the part of the architects underlines the structure’s links with the city’s history and tradition.The size of the building and the many facilities that it contains required a specially-designed signing system, facilitating movement of people on the various floors. The system comprises a colour-code identifying the seven departments.