Sustainable youth centre brings community together

As part of the Trentino-Alto Adige region’s focus on building environmentally sustainable public facilities, the northern Italian city of Mezzocorona refurbished its local sports and recreation centre.

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Youth Centre Sottodossi in Mezzocorona. ©Paolo Bertotti Youth Centre Sottodossi in Mezzocorona. ©Paolo Bertotti

" The refurbishment of the Sottodossi Youth Centre has given the City of Mezzocorona a central, social aggregation point – not only for young people, but for children and families too. "

Mattia Hauser, Mezzocorona Major

The project began by demolishing the existing building, making way to build a completely new Sottodossi Youth Centre from the ground up. Specific attention was paid to environmental sustainability, particularly lowering energy consumption by using renewable resources. Architects designed the new facility and the surrounding grounds using the low environmental impact criteria outlined by the ITACA protocol, an energy-environmental certification tool that evaluates both the quality of the building itself and of the individual components used in its construction.

In recognition of its sustainability efforts, the Sottodossi Centre has been certified by ITACA and was awarded the Initiative for Low Energy Training in Europe (ILETE) award.

Attention to detail

Locally-sourced wood and iron were used as the two key building materials. This gave the building a natural look, allowing it to blend in with the surrounding environment. To make the building more sustainable, photovoltaic cells and solar panels were installed.

The area surrounding the building was also redesigned. For instance, the parking ramps that lead up to the old centre were replaced by a modern recreational park. The park includes a playground, new walking paths and parking spaces. The grounds also include a number of athletic facilities, including a volleyball court, an open tennis court with a retractable dome, and a football field. The football field’s locker rooms meet the strict standards of the Italian Football Federation, while the field features a new tribune that provides seating for up to 100 fans.

Supporting the community’s youth

Inside, the renewed Sottodossi Youth Centre is now a busy recreational space where the city’s youth can come for a range of activities. The ground floor features a cafe with a garden area, maintenance facilities and offices. There is also a dedicated multimedia room and space for music practice and rehearsals.

The first floor houses the Provincial Association for Minors (APPM), a non-profit social organisation that guides children, adolescents and their families in individual growth, autonomy and social responsibility. There is also a well-equipped music room, computer room and a 60 m2 multipurpose hall.
Since its reopening in 2010, the centre has had a very positive impact on the community by promoting multiple activities and new opportunities for young people. It quickly developed a reputation for being a central gathering point for the community, where people of all ages can come to participate in and enjoy a range of athletic, musical and social activities.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Youth Centre ‘Sottodossi’ in Mezzocorona” is EUR 1 308 524, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 288 781 through the “Autonomous Province of Trento” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.