YACademy & competitions


The winners of the Manni Group Design Award 2022 have been announced, an edition that focuses on sustainable architecture for Data Centers through the redevelopment of a former military bunker.


In an increasingly digitized world, every online activity we carry out generates data that needs dedicated places, Data Centers, material infrastructures essential for the functioning of modern society.

The response from the world of architecture to the competition launched by Manni Group, in collaboration with YAC - Young Architects Competitions, was extraordinary, with the participation of teams from 66 countries from all over the world.

The proposals were evaluated by an international panel of judges made up of archistars such as 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. The jury also includes prof. Giorgio Ventre of the Federico II University of Naples and Samuele Tommasi of the Municipality of Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo.

The theme of the fourth edition of the Manni Group Design Award is more topical than ever, and adheres perfectly to the trends we promote, i.e. developing a building construction that is careful to improve the impact on the community and on the territory through the use of innovative solutions from high energy performances. We are proud to have been able to evaluate works of the highest quality supported by high-level judges. Great attention was paid to the use of the Group's off-site technologies within the projects, an aspect that was rewarded in the process of selecting the winners. The three finalist teams, coming from Germany, Vietnam and the Republic of Serbia, were able to interpret the challenge consistently with the objectives launched, proposing efficient solutions, with a high aesthetic value that dialogued both with the history of the place and with the surrounding environment”, Enrico Frizzera, CEO and General Manager of Manni Group.


Here are the top three winners of the contest:


1st PRIZE | Atelier LXL+ZHGS, Data Landscape | Germany


A project conceived to integrate harmoniously between the present and the future. The new structure stands on the foundations of the historic site, preserving its memory. It consists of three distinct volumes dedicated respectively to the data center, the residences with offices and the community center, each of which is characterized by a specific aesthetic and functionality.

A key element in this project is the extensive use of the Isopan GreenROOF system for the green roofs, which allows for the creation of a strong immersion in the surrounding landscape.

The three new volumes are attached to each other to form a new central activity space that mirrors the original architectural logic. The horizontally extended roof was built over the original bunker, while the roof was removed to make room for an open-air courtyard.

In this way, it has been possible to create a comfortable and functional environment, where nature and architecture merge into a single aesthetic and sustainable solution.

In the nature park of Mount Lessini, a winding path leads to an open area between the mountains. During the First World War, it became a military facility, now abandoned, where a data centre will emerge. The data centre is buried underground for security; the residence and offices, semi-underground, provide a view of the landscape and privacy; and the community centre are on the ground for easy access to the public. The old structure is also the core of the new building”, Atelier LXL+ZHGS.

Data Landscape
Data Landscape

"I particularly appreciated the sensitivity towards the landscape context of this project, without renouncing a decisive trait that identifies the contemporaneity of the work. Also, to be appreciated is the attention to the pre-existing artefacts which largely develop as an underground system", Arch. Gianandrea Gazzola. 

"The "ATELIER LXL +ZHG S" project by Guisong Zhang, Dian Luo, Xiang Liu pushes the concept of integration of architecture into the landscape to the max, offering structures that are completely or almost completely buried in the ground, which perfectly integrate with the layout of the surrounding land, emphasizing great attention to the natural environment in which they are found. An interesting opportunity for the creation of large internal sharing spaces and green spaces in underground, non-impactful structures. Taking the existing bunkers of the concept of spaces hidden in the vegetation, they open their eyes to the outside through large windows to highlight the 360° panorama, so that from dark and narrow places they become large spaces illuminated by light and by the surrounding nature", Samuele Tommasi - Municipality of Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo. 


2nd PRIZE | Nguyen Quy Phu, Data Chapel | Vietnam


The design of the structure was inspired by the physiognomy of the mountain, which is reflected in the aesthetic aspect of the building. To carry out the project, we started from the recovery of the pre-existing bunker, used as the foundations of the new structure. The external construction was built with simple rectangular plans, in order to integrate perfectly into the context.

The use of steel for the structure and photovoltaic panels as the main elements of the new construction represent a choice that is attentive to environmental sustainability. The panels, positioned on the three facades facing south, guarantee the production of renewable electricity to meet the energy needs of the Data Center and future community activities.

The architecture is generated following the sun and the existing landscape. Recycling the bunkers, simple rectangular floorplans are formed, from which three triangular prisms arise. The primitive pyramid-like expression is then striking yet of practical origin”, Nguyen Quy Phu.

Data Chapel
Data Chapel

"The project by Quy Phu Nguyen stands out for the originality of the structures which in themselves become an attraction of the area for their shape and grandeur, covering the existing bunkers keeping them no longer hidden by vegetation but by these new buildings. In an area until a few years ago covered with telecommunications antennas tens of meters high and impacting from a visual point of view, recreating such particular constructions for the surrounding area highlights how the visual impact in the area can change depending on the architecture promoted by man", Samuele Tommasi - Municipality of Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo. 


3rd PRIZE | MLADE, Tourbillon | Republic of Serbia


"With the introduction of the data centre to the existing landscape of Venetian Prealps, the juxtaposition is achieved between the hermetic, solid, and stable nature of the data centre representing contemporary values and the fluctuant landscape of vast open mountain fields - home to vernacular traditional instances of life”,  MLADE.

The aim is to define a configuration that maintains this contrast through a balance between the new and existing context, both in the geographical and topographical characteristics of the place.

With the aim of uniting all these peculiarities in a whirling motion, a stable perimeter has been created around the exciting interchange of different contents. To materialize this interpretation, extensive use was made of the GreenROOF system to integrate the structure with the surrounding landscape and panels from the Isopan ADDMIRA range were used to clad the facade of the building.


"The "MLADE" project by Sandra Dragovic, Milsa Nikolovski, Luka Gric, presents an idea of open spaces, attention to natural agents such as solar radiation and natural ventilation, which together with the green roof cover integrates such a form of the structure to the surrounding environment with attention to the well-being of the person and the sharing of large internal spaces", Samuele Tommasi - Municipality of Sant'Anna d'Alfaedo. 


The competition aroused great international interest and represented an important opportunity to highlight the potential of sustainable and innovative architecture, offering concrete solutions for the redevelopment of abandoned military spaces. Congratulations to the winners and to all those who enthusiastically took part in this challenge.

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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