U r b a n   N e x u s - C R N

Type: Mixed Use

Status: Competition

Year: 2016 

In collaboration with: Rossana Capurso Atelier + Werner Sobek

Websites: http://rossanacapursoatelier.comhttps://www.wernersobek.de

The project is situated in the center of the oldest medieval section of Bari, Italy. The existing structure was originally used as a tobacco manufacturing facility; the buildings with their perimeter form a closed block within the urban grid system with three main interior open courts.


As a mixed use project, the proposed design unifies different programmatic activities with an emphasis on characterizing the new office of the CRN in the city. The proposed design takes into consideration a comprehensive requalification of the old existing structure, the addition of the new CRN program, and aims to reconnect through the architecture social, environmental, and modern themes with the historical background of the city itself.


The National Research Council (Cnr) is the largest public research institution in Italy, the only one under the Research Ministry performing multidisciplinary activities.

Founded as legal person on 18 November 1923, Cnr’s mission is to perform research in its own Institutes, to promote innovation and competitiveness of the national industrial system, to promote the internationalization of the national research system, to provide technologies and solutions to emerging public and private needs, to advice Government and other public bodies, and to contribute to the qualification of human resources.

In the Cnr's research world, the main resource is the available knowledge which means people, with their skills, commitment and ideas. This capital comprises more than 8.000 employees, of whom more than half are researchers and technologists. Some 4.000 young researchers are engaged in postgraduate studies and research training at Cnr within the organization’s top-priority areas of interest. A significant contribution also comes from research associates: researchers, from Universities or private firms, who take part in Cnr’s research activities.


The city originated from the Roman 'Castrum' from which it developed its network of streets forming a grid system.The project site is situated in a block intersecting one of the major boulevards.

Site Strategy

The project studies the urban fabric

to determine main axis, access points,

and visual connections that will identify

the most appropriate location for the new program.

The project revolves around the idea of reconnecting the existing urban morphology though a system of pathways, a ‘nexus’ that allows interaction between different realities and experiences.  


Program, Circulation and Specifics


1- Ground Floor

2- First Floor

3- Second Floor

The access from Via Ravanas was cleaned from the degraded market kiosks which were scattered throughout the complex. This allowed opening up the access in front of the main façade dedicating the square to public greenspace.


In such scenario, the user is invited to enter the structure as the various programmatic spaces guide people in their daily functions: from various kinds of shopping, to different kinds of culinary experiences, and night entertainment.


The frontal edifice is dedicated to the job center, once inside the archways users find a city within a city. A central forum acts as focal point of interaction between people and the surrounding different programs; primarily thanks to the present glass skywalk.


By Via Crisanzio is located the new CRN facility surrounded by greenspace for both CRN personal and the public; rest areas are organized in the central core of the CRN new building where a glass cube becomes a green ‘island’. A circular staircase follows the existing chimney of the old factory leading to meeting room, and skybar.

CRN facility, Gallery Space, Shopping Center


During the design process one of the main goals was to achieve efficiency and sustainability. We focused on using seasonal wind currents and climatic local parameters to restructure the existing building in an efficient way.


The city of Bari offers temperatures that are generally above 0* Celsius and as a consequence, cooling the building is of major interest compared to heating it throughout of the year.


An efficient way to control the temperature during the summer season is to use natural ventilation. During the warm months winds arrive prevalently from East; the new proposed architecture takes into consideration apertures that will help reduce the electricity requirements for cooling the structure and aid the ventilation.

Average Temperature - Average Rainfall