"Il Maggiore" cultural centre, Verbania (Italy)


"Il Maggiore" cultural centre, Verbania (Italy)

Located close to the Swiss border, the Italian town of Verbania cultivates in-betweens: positioned between Piedmont and Lombardy, between urbanisation and nature, between water and mountain, between lake and river.






Commettant: Comune di Verbania
Architect:  Gruppo Stones (Fabrizio Bianchetti Architetto, Salvador Perez, S.Arroyo,G.Marzorati, F. Bianchetti 
Contractor: Monetti - Notarimpresa spa Final project 
Technique: VMZINC® Standing Seam, Surface aspect: QUARTZ-ZINC®


A dual nature that did not make the architect’s task here easy: on which element of the context should he base the design of his project?   Invited to compete for the design of a multi-purpose centre bordering the lake, on one of the town’s last natural plots, the architects working in the aptly named Stones Group did not hesitate for a second. They drew inspiration from the stones on the lake shore and at the mouth of the San Bernardino River, which borders part of the site. The result is a landscapebuilding, more of a sculpture than a construction, marking out the programme with four monumental stones connected by a parallelepiped, creating a panoramic opening overlooking Lake Maggiore.


All of the structural work, in concrete, was carried out following an orthogonal plan. A glue laminated timber structure made it possible to create the rounded volumes that give such strength to the project. A series of vertically installed arches is connected to a veil, formed using braces also made of glue laminated timber. This beautiful structure, encased in its preweathered QUARTZ-ZINC ® remove second zinc, houses spaces that are large enough to hold a theatre, a cinema, offi ces, a bar- restaurant and conference rooms. 


The metal envelope was carefully installed using the standing seam technique: long parallel or radial strips ideal for cladding the double curve. In the parts necessitating openings for natural light or ventilation, the same preweathered zinc was used, but in expanded metal. The unity of material preserves the integrity of these magnifi cent rocks, which the architects consider as the point of departure for new lakeside strolls.


The steps and landscaping, which are an integral part of the project, are an invitation to re-qualify the area around the congress  centre, to offer Lake Maggiore a truly major space!