USI's House of Sustainability in Airolo becomes reality


Institutional Communication Service

21 December 2021

At its sitting on Friday, 17 December, the University Council voted unanimously to initiate constructions for USI's House of Sustainability in Airolo. The Municipal Council of Airolo confirmed its commitment to the project on Monday, 20 December, and unanimously approved the required credit for the purchase and renovation of the building.  

USI Rector Boas Erez: "I am thrilled that this project has been approved: the significant objective is to be able to offer our students, within the study programmes, an innovative way of learning,  and experiencing first-hand the great sustainability challenges of our times. Having such a place for in-depth learning and experimentation will allow USI to further encourage the development of research programmes, courses, theses, seminars and events on sustainability-related topics. It is of crucial importance to ensure that future generations receive education and training that will empower them to contribute to respecting the great balances of the natural environment and life."

The Alpine space, particularly the Gotthard region, is best suited to fulfil this mission. Mayor of Airolo Oscar Wolfisberg: "Our region is a privileged observatory for some of the major future challenges, such as climate change, sustainable energy production or the search for new solutions for the future of transportation. We, therefore, decided to get involved in the project by making the former Post Office building in Airolo available to USI. The building had for half a century the purpose of serving the population as a meeting place and transit. The place will be returned to its original purpose and become the home of an antenna of USI: an example of building transformation that takes into account all three aspects of sustainability (environmental, social and economic), without forgetting the historical and architectural value of the building itself."

The initial investment for the purchase of the building is borne by the City, with support from the Canton through the regional development policy, while the capital needed to start the project and the operating costs will be borne by USI.


The next steps

The implementation phase of the project is now open, which foresees, on the one hand, the actual purchase of the building and the start of the renovation work by the City. On the other hand, USI will design the courses and develop synergies within the university and in the region.


More information on the project can be found in the presentation brochure attached.