New Humanistic Pole Former Geriatrico Hospital
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New Humanistic Pole

Location: Padua, Italy
Client: University of Padua
Architect: Prof. Arch. Paolo Portoghesi – Arch. Ruben Verdi –
Studio Architetti Mar Srl and Arch. G. Galeazzo
Year: 2007 – 2019
Site area: 17.600 m²

After almost 20 years of disuse, thanks to important works of renovation, since the beginning of the 2019/2020 academic year the complex “Ex Geriatrico” (former geriatric hospital) , whose oldest parts belong to the second half of 19th century, has been housing the departments of the New Humanistic Pole of Padua University.

The complex covers an area of almost 15,000 m²  in the city centre with a project volume of about 104,000 m³

The intervention of renovation, aimed at the realization of a real new universitary campus, involved the demolition of the most recent buildings of the geriatric hospital, the construction of new ones, the full recovery of the nineteenth-century structures and of the main body facing Via Vendramini.

The renewed oldest buildings house the central library of the Pole, articulated on 10,000 linear meters of shelves on an area of about 4,200 m² , with 435 seats.

The complex includes also didactic and computer classrooms of different sizes, several offices and a new auditorium / conference room, overlooking Via Vendramini, with about 250 seats.

The technological systems were designed in accordance with the most current environmental sustainability and energy efficiency principles, becoming themselves the study subject of a university research team.
The basic air conditioning of the buildings is provided by the exploitation of a geothermal field composed of 60 boreholes 120 m deep, combined with proper ground source heat pumps; any consumption of methane gas has been eliminated.

Particularly important is the natural ventilation of the gallery, a large distribution space within the didactic pole characterized by a cover completely glazed, that adopts a complex plant engineering system to further improve energy efficiency.

Part of the external air flow is, in fact, taken directly from one of the adjacent courtyards and conveyed in an antimicrobial plastic pipe buried at a depth of about 1.3 meters, positioned under the gallery for about 80 meters; it then goes up through a cavity to the central air treatment. The system, controlled by temperature probes that enable its operation when external conditions are suitable, exploits the energy storage capacity of the ground to preheat the outdoor air in winter and cool it in summer.

Moreover, in the same gallery, a natural ventilation and cooling system has been installed; in this way it is possible to maintain an ideal climate inside the gallery simply thanks to natural ventilation, with consequent savings in terms of energy consumption.

Technical Data:
N. of Buildings: 18 (Renovated: 13 – New Construction: 5)
Cooling power: 1,2 MW
Thermal power: 800 kW
Boreholes: 60 – 120 m deep (plus 3 boreholes for analysis and monitoring of ground thermal characteristics)


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