Green light for the further development plans of the Mendrisio campus

Rendering of the
Rendering of the "Amarcord" project for the common areas and ateliers in the future "Turconi 2"

Institutional Communication Service

26 November 2018

On November 19, the Parliament of the Canton Ticino approved the funding of CHF 16 million for the further development of the USI Accademia di architettura campus in Mendrisio, thus allowing USI to create new spaces in response to the increase in students and faculty members. The funding is aimed at covering two thirds of the overall investments planned by USI - in this case, for the renovation of Palazzo Turconi, which will accommodate the university library, and for the construction of the new building "Turconi 2", which will accommodate ateliers, shared spaces, and offices for faculty members. The decision of the Grand Council was taken by a large majority, with 68 votes in favour and 8 abstentions.

The development plans for the Mendrisio campus, which include also a series of renovation works, require investments in the order of 41.5M Swiss francs and fall within the context of significant growth of the student body, on the one hand, and of the faculty on the other. Regarding the former, the variation from the academic year 2002/2003 to today in numerical terms has gone from 488 to 808 units (+65.6%), with a forecast of reaching a maximum of 850 students - but if we consider that currently the campus can accommodate 600-650 students, it is already from the academic year 2008/2009 (658 enrolled) that this threshold is exceeded. Regarding the latter (professors, lecturers, assistants and researchers), over the last fifteen years the variation is +51%.

In addition to the need for new spaces for the Library, the structural growth of the Accademia requires an increase in space for teaching, research and administrative activities, meaning additional classrooms and laboratories, new offices for professors, assistants and admin services, new spaces for recreation and study for students, and new spaces for the Archivio del moderno. The main works planned, in addition to those mentioned above, concern the demolition of the current library (temporary structure that has reached its operational limits), and the transformation and adaptation of internal spaces of the Palazzo Canavée 1 to relocate a part of the atelier currently at the Turconi. Other interventions are planned to optimize spaces and structures, such as new offices for faculty and researchers in the Villa Argentina (home to the Direction and Administration of the Accademia), in the adjoining Dépendence, and in the upper floors of the recently renovated Vignetta building.

The strategy and investment plans for the Mendrisio campus also include also the Teatro dell’architettura Mendrisio, a structure that has already been built and officially inaugurated on October 11, with the opening of the Louis Kahn exhibition.