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“La Piazza” multipurpose centre

Elyplast for the “La Piazza” multipurpose centre on the outskirts of Venice: a choice that is renewed

Type: Restructuring, commercial building
Project: “La Piazza” shopping centre
Location: Favaro Veneto (VE)
Restructuring project: Rey Venezia srl
Artistic Director: Architect Luca Musi
Safety Project: Architect Pietro Coletti
Roofing: Caliber srl di Verona
Roofing sheets: Elyplast fibreglass corrugated sheets by Brianza Plastica, light blue
Roofing surface area: 2700 sqm
Reseller of Elyplast sheets: Brex SRL Gasparini Representations


A multifunction centre to serve the city

The “La Piazza” multifunction centre in Favaro Veneto, on the outskirts of Venice, was designed in the late eighties and built in the early nineties, at the dawn of the boom of the first Italian shopping centres, which were conceived as shopping containers concluded and separated from the city centre in a peripheral position (according to parameters of American shopping malls). The original project aimed at being a conscious urban experimentation for an integrated service centre immersed in the urban fabric of Favaro, thus representing its “Centre”, i.e. “Piazza” which at that time was relegated to a crossroads. The complex was therefore conceived and built not in opposition to, but alongside and widely innervated to the main urban routes of the small town, with commercial and office spaces, as well as spaces for public use and community services. The building has a large central area with a large pyramid-shaped roof, as a luminous and translucent visual signal, from which four different sectors located at intermediate levels are connected by a series of ramps without architectural barriers. All the roofs of the building are left exposed, so that the rooms can benefit from the natural light that filters through the translucent roofs, which have characterised the structure since the beginning of the project. Thirty years after its inauguration, the aesthetics of the centre needed to be renovated and updated, and the plant-engineering installations needed to be made more energy efficient. This was achieved by installing more than 2000 square metres of photovoltaic panels and by transitioning to LED light bulbs: the intervention led to a functional and architectural restyling, in full respect of the original mood.

Brianza Plastica

Restructuring of the roofs

Three decades after its construction, the roofs of the centre showed signs of ageing. The architect Luca Musi analysed different cladding solutions for resurfacing the roofs, originally made of Elyplast fibreglass sheets by Brianza Plastica. In the first instance, the possibility to use a so-called “eternal” material, such as glass, for the translucent roof was considered. After careful evaluation, this option was discarded because of the high costs, the considerable weight of the material that would have burdened the existing structures, and the need to periodically replace the seals of the frames, which have a limited life span and would require constant monitoring. Subsequently, materials such as plexiglass and polycarbonate were also not deemed suitable for the type of project and the requirements, with the first being more expensive, and the second, less resistant.

Brianza Plastica
Installation of Elyplast sheets to replace the existing ones

The designer therefore reassessed the situation and, in agreement with the customer, confirmed the same choice made originally, opting for the same Elyplast sheets by Brianza Plastica, made of reinforced fibreglass (PRFV) and with specific UV protection. In addition to providing aesthetic continuity with the existing one - chosen in the same light blue colour and corrugated profile as the original sheets - this material also offers the great advantage of lightness and ease of handling at a height. The installers engaged to replace the sheets were able to handle the sheets without mechanical aids (such as suction devices, cranes, platforms), which would otherwise be necessary when using heavy materials. This meant a great saving in costs and time, as well as evident safety advantages. In fact, only three people working for 20 days were needed to replace the roof, which covered 2,700 square metres.

  Brianza Plastica
Detail of the central pyramid-shaped roof and the adjacent corridors.

“The Elyplast fibreglass sheets offer dynamic technical features,” explains the architect Luca Musi, “and great resistance to weathering, impacts and hail, which have been greatly appreciated in all these years of operation of the roof.” “We have therefore reiterated the choice of an apparently less noble material, but highly functional and efficient, and in any case with interesting aesthetic potential, due to the particular translucent, almost metal-like translucency when backlit. It is resistant, lightweight, durable and able to enhance the look of the complex, without distorting it.”. The 30-year duration of the roof, which has remained in operation without any particular problems, except for natural aesthetic ageing that has not in any way altered its functionality, has confirmed and exceeded the life expectancy of the product.

Having ascertained the reliability of the material, testified by direct experience, and having appreciated its lightness and impact resistance, the Elyplast sheets have been reconfirmed as the ideal solution for translucent roofing. The new Elyplast sheets were chosen in the maximum weight available (2.3 kg/m2), with anti-UV surface treatment and in the colour light blue: a shade that, by filtering natural light, creates a special atmosphere in indoor environments, with accents that evoke the mood of underwater life. Vice versa, at night, the translucent roof creates an original lantern effect, standing out against the urban landscape with elegance and discretion.