Official opening of the renovated Palazzo Turconi
Institutional Communication Service
7 July 2021
The renovated Palazzo Turconi, home to the USI Academy of Architecture Library, was inaugurated on Wednesday 7 July in Mendrisio. For a cost of 7 million francs, the renovations are part of the project to expand the Mendrisio campus, which, in November 2018, obtained a framework credit from the Grand Council of Ticino.
In the afternoon, the official ceremony was held in the Court of Palazzo Turconi, in the presence of the State Council President, Manuele Bertoli, the Rector of Università della Svizzera italiana, Boas Erez and the Mayor of Mendrisio, Samuele Cavadini. The renovations of the building began in January 2019. They were completed in recent months, allowing over 130,000 volumes to be moved from the original location of the Academy of Architecture Library to the new premises, which form one of the most important centres of documentation and scientific research on architecture and art in Europe.
The new premises, which are now open to the public, occupy 1800 m2, with 110 individual study stations and 4 study rooms for group work. The general collection, the author libraries and an extensive collection of journals on architecture, art, design, photography, restoration, urban and regional planning and landscape design can be accessed on open shelves. In addition, antique books, graphics and photography collections are stored in specially air-conditioned rooms. The Library also offers access to swisscovery, the new research platform that brings together the resources of 475 Swiss academic libraries and gives access to the entire repertoire of scientific documents in Switzerland: more than 30 million books and periodicals, and more than 3 billion articles in electronic format.
Discovering Palazzo Turconi
Following the opening ceremony, guided group tours were held with Angela Windholz, Head of the Academy's Library, and Professor Marc Collomb, architect and designer.
Relocating a library inside a building of great historical and cultural value raises the question of respecting the monument's heritage. The architectural character of Palazzo Turconi, conceived in the 19th century to house a hospital, has shown great potential for transformation, firstly as a teaching space for design workshops and then as a place of study and research where the book becomes the protagonist. Today, a similar situation would be difficult to achieve; what contemporary hospital building would accommodate a library? In the case of Palazzo Turconi, the planning principle is simple. The volumes (books) are grouped in the centre of the spaces, sheltered from direct sunlight. They can be opened and consulted around the central courtyard, which thus becomes the reading room. From one's seat, the feeling is to belong to the community of patrons.
All new interventions, whatever their nature (technological, structural, ...), have been conceived and carried out reversibly so as not to alter the nature of the building, with the constant concern of clearly expressing what is new from what is historical, thus avoiding falling into a "pastiche".
From Hospital to Library. The history of the Turconi legacy. Inaugural exhibition of the Academy Library
Until 8 October 2021 it will be possible to visit the exhibition "From Hospital to Library. The history of the Turconi legacy" organised for the inauguration of the Academy of Architecture Library which, at the beginning of 2021, moved to its new premises in Palazzo Turconi.
In the attachment the Flyers on the Academy of Architecture Library and on the inaugural exhibition.