Data Landscape: the fourth edition of the Manni Group Design Award focuses on sustainable architecture for data centers

YACademy & competitions

Data Landscape: the fourth edition of the Manni Group Design Award focuses on sustainable architecture for data centers

21 Nov, 2022

Manni Group launches the 2022 edition of the international architecture competition: this year's theme is the redevelopment of a military bunker as a Data Center immersed in the Italian mountain landscape.


In today's highly interconnected world, everything we do online translates into data. Despite its apparent volatility, however, digital data needs physical spaces to be stored, technologies for its security, huge amounts of energy to be constantly reachable. In short, they need infrastructures that are anything but virtual, but purely material: data centers.

For the fourth consecutive year Manni Group takes up one of the global challenges of the moment and passes it on to young designers on the international scene: with Data Landscape it launches the Manni Group Design Award 2022, the architecture contest organised in collaboration with YAC – Young Architects Competitions that, this time, invites to imagine a new generation of data centers, which is able to dialogue with the pre-existing buildings and the landscape to generate iconic architecture.

Designers will be able to take advantage of all the benefits of the off-site technology to redevelop a former fallout bunker in the Venetian Prealps and transform it into a state-of-the-art data management center, energetically efficient and integrated into the surrounding mountain landscape.

The prize money of €20,000 will be awarded to the most sustainable and innovative designs by a prestigious panel of international starchitects.


Data Landscape

A stone's throw from Verona and Lake Garda lies the Regional Natural Park of the Lessini Mountains: a naturalistic wonder dotted with abandoned monumental quarries, centuries-old woods, geological formations of stone and fossils that refer with the imagination to an ancestral scenario. Here the presence of man is documented since the Neolithic, becoming a centre permanently inhabited since the Middle Ages.

Among the green pastures of western Lessinia is Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo, which in the twentieth century hosted an impressive NATO telecommunications facility. Of the antennas dozens of meters high today little remains other than bases and thick vegetation has covered the outcrops of fallout bunkers: it is in these largely underground constructions that Manni Group has identified the suitable site to imagine a very modern data center, the paradigm of a new generation of architectures devoted to digital but capable of a unique and effective relationship with the natural landscape.

Not only state-of-the-art infrastructure: Data Landscape leads to a reflection on the role of data centers as potential aggregators of complementary functions such as to make them architectural jewels and hubs of urban development, as evidenced by recent international experiments in the same field. The competition will rather aim at the design of an entire ecosystem, where the data center is the pretext to develop technological hubs, training and community services that benefit from being close to it, one of which is the reuse of the heat generated by the operation of the data center to heat sports facilities.


The design dialogue must be directed both towards the surrounding nature, identifying strategies for insertion and environmental integration of the intervention, and towards the pre-existing military buildings, taking the form of a virtuous comparison between history and the contemporary.

The Manni Group solutions for dry construction are available to participants, whose choice, however, must not ignore the general principles of data center design: safety, energy needs, cooling, redundancy and articulation of key areas.

After the success of the contests for the Xi'An Train Station, the Detroit Waterfront District and the Ghana Innovation Farm, the new edition of the Manni Group Design Award asks about the sustainability of architecture for the digital world: the more this expands, the more data centers multiply, acquiring value and a fundamental role for tomorrow’s society.

Manni Group thanks the designers who will accept this challenge.


Join the competition


The international panel

The Manni Group Design Award is organised with the support of YAC – Young Architects Competitions, a Bologna-based company that promotes architectural ideas competitions, and involves a community of over 4000 professionals around the globe.

The most sustainable and innovative projects for Data Landscape will be selected by the prestigious panel composed of architects and artists of international fame: Patrick Lüth of Snøhetta, Fedele Canosa of Mecanoo, Gianandrea Gazzola, Wahlström Walter Mats of Ateljé Ö, Alessandro Adamo of DEGW Lombardini 22 and Jelena Vicic of BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

Judges of the competition will also be prof. Giorgio Ventre of the Federico II University of Naples and Samuele Tommasi of the Municipality of Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo.


_Grafica giurati


Competition partners

The project counts on partnerships of excellence: also this year BASF, leader in the chemical sector, is the Main Sponsor of the competition and will award a dedicated Gold Mention thanks to the participation in the panel of CEO Lorenzo Bottinelli. Sponsors still include ROCKWOOL, the main player in the mineral wool market, and for the first time Arvedi Tubi Acciaio S.p.A., European leader in the steel sector.

Moreover, from 2022, the certification of YAC competitions is carried out through the hand and creative genius of Carlo Stanga, one of the most brilliant and appreciated contemporary architectural illustrators.

The high value of this initiative is demonstrated by the patronage of the Municipality of Sant'Anna d’Alfaedo, UNICMI, the National Union of Metal Construction, Envelope and Door and Window Industries, and DCD - Data Center Dynamics.



Manni Group: steel and sustainability

Manni Group offers systems, solutions and skills for the sector of dry building with steel, promoting new scenarios to overcome the energy waste and the polluting emissions of existing real estate. In over 75 years of activity, the Group has internationalised by promoting the principles of the Circular Economy and sustainable construction.

A commitment that has been translated into the processing of materials like steel, 100% recyclable, and in the manufacture of products that help meet the criteria to obtain the LEED and BREEAM certifications, in compliance with national MEC (Minimum Environmental Criteria). In addition, the Group uses instruments aiming at transparency, such as the EPD and the DECLARE label issued by the ILFI – International Living Future Institute.

Once again, the competition promoted by Manni Group focuses on the benefits that efficient and integrated development projects can bring to the territory. Today more than ever, in fact, writing the future means committing to a fairer and more sustainable world, capable of preserving resources and developing opportunities for the new generations. The Manni Group Design Award is therefore confirmed as a valuable event, a look to the future that encourages talent and promotes change.


Join the competition


Practical info

Manni Group Design Award Prize Money: €20,000

Participation: individuals or teams of architects of any nationality, as long as at least one member is under 35.

“Early bird” deadline: 18/12/2022

Deadline for sending in projects: 15/02/2023

More info:

For further information or request for support, contact YAC at

Written by

Raffaele Bulgarelli - Digital Marketing Expert at Manni Group
Raffaele Bulgarelli - Digital Marketing Expert at Manni Group

Raffaele, Digital Marketing Expert of Manni Group, works in synergy with Isopan, gaining insight into the technical world of sandwich panels and keeping pace with the latest trends in the building industry. Thanks to his training in Architecture, he has a keen eye for online topics and activities involving designers and architects.

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