Minimum impact, maximum space and safety: multi-storey steel car park in Cuneo

This open, multi-storey car park was realized with steel to maximize the available space and minimise its weight and environmental impact. The steel structure, supplied by ArcelorMittal, was designed according to the “Fire Safety Engineering Approach”.

Detailed information

Located in the city of Cuneo, Piedmont, near the Santa Croce Hospital and the train station, the car park was designed by the architects G. Rocca and P. Cattaneo and realized by Franco Barberis SpA in collaboration with the firm Goldbeck.

The multi-storey car park is a part of a larger redevelopment project of the former railway yard. The town council had already taken steps to redevelop the area by overhauling the pedestrian areas, creating bus stops with new steel shelters and streamlining the road system for traffic optimization.

Not only can the steel construction easily be integrated into the surrounding area in a non-invasive way, (the consideration of environmental impact was an important factor in the design process) , but it also enriches the are with new, functional and aesthetic architecture, while ensuring a high degree of freedom to the designers.

The car park consists of three floors, offset from each other, and a basement and offers 555 parking spaces, including 11 for the disabled. Two staircase blocks with elevators built of reinforced concrete are located on the north and south sides and provide access to all levels. The fire escape, on the other hand, is situated along the west façade.

The type of structure was dictated by the need to limit the impact of an imposing building (approx. 78 m x 48 m): Therefore, the designers decided to employ a structure as light as possible with cladding that provides the whole building with consistency and continuity.

Along Corso Monviso, the car park is directly integrated into the city’s everyday life. Trees, bushes and flowers were planted along and are climbing up the façade to camouflage the metal structure, integrating it into its urban surroundings.

On the backside, along the train rails, the façade has an almost lacey feel where the daylight comes in from the outside through half-opened partitions. This game with lights and shadows not only gives the structure an airy feel, but also the impression of an open space. 

Structural Solution

The structure is made of steel and reinforced steel-concrete composite floor slabs and makes lightness one of its main characteristics.

To facilitate smooth traffic circulation inside the car park, large spans of approximately 16 m and columns with small footprint (<30cm) were used. By employing the dry assembly method, not only the time and consequently the cost of construction could be significantly reduced (only 3 construction sessions of 3 weeks each), but also  the maintenance costs could be reduced.

The inherent advantage of prefabricated steel and composite elements lies in the fact that they are industrially manufactured on a large scale and guarantee high quality.

The use of mixed steel-concrete system also allows maximum flexibility and performance in the design: it was therefore possible to realize the construction of a car park exploiting the sloping ground, by creating offset storeys, half-storeys and ramps and to make the most of the available spaces of different shapes and dimensions by combining constructive elements with a length of 16 meters for the necessary number of floors.

The choice of the cladding material was left to the creativity of the designers who could select from an array of materials in order to enrich the aesthetic quality of the project.

Steel Structure & Cladding

The load-bearing structure was made of galvanized steel, free of intumescent paint protection thanks to the design according to the "Fire Safety Engineering" approach (performance approach according to DM 09/05/2007) . It consists of HEA sections as columns assembled to the reinforced strip foundation  and IPE sections as floor beams, supporting the floor slabs.

Even the cladding that provides the complex with a contemporary and modern look, is steel: the curtain wall is made of a barrier with three galvanized pipes as handrail (d. 48.3 mm) and a barrier of two elements (d . 60.3 mm), protected by knitted steel mesh panels (50x200 with vertical wire (7.5 mm) and horizontal wire (5.6 mm) in galvanized and painted steel.

The choice of this particular type of steel skin allowed to adopt a simple and economic architectural solutions, while preserving the transparency and the accuracy of the cladding details, which gives the structure a considerable architectural value.

The security barriers between floors and ramps are defined by a metal grill made of galvanized mesh panels 400x25, stiffened by a box-like element measuring 100x100x4. The cladding was then painted in green.

Project Information

  • Cuneo
  • Italy
  • Architect:
    Studio di architettura G. Rocca e P. Cattaneo
  • 2011
  • Structure:
    Franco Barberis S.p.A.
  • Steel structure:
  • Photographer: