This project in Pregassona is the public building (status: October 2021) with the largest facade-integrated photovoltaic system in Ticino, having an installed capacity of about 170 kWp, corresponding to a surface...
Studio Mario Campi SA
Architect Rosario Galgano
“Regarding the photovoltaic facade, it was simply an adaptation of an Eternit ventilated facade, which we then converted during the design phase together with the city of Lugano, aiming to maintain the same style and the same architectural concept.“
The largest BIPV facade in Ticino

This project in Pregassona is a public building (status: January 2022) that has the largest facade-integrated photovoltaic system in Ticino and has an installed capacity of about 170 kWp, corresponding to a surface area of over 1600 square metres.
The Municipality of Lugano chose to change the planned facade concept from a classic fibre-cement sheet cladding to a fully photovoltaic ventilated facade without sacrificing the architectural language thanks to innovative coloured glass modules made by Sunage SA. This development was possible thanks to a synergistic collaboration between all parties involved in the project, who believed in the validity of a solar alternative that would make the building a self-producer of photovoltaic energy.

Executive plan – ground floor. Source: Mario Campi – Architetto FAS e Associati SA.

In addition to the home for the elderly, this multifunctional centre in Pregassona houses a kindergarten. Photo credits: Chiara Zocchetti – CdT.

View towards the garden. Photo credits: Chiara Zocchetti – CdT.

Building characteristics
  • Building typology
  • Construction type
  • Year of construction
    2017 – 2021
  • Energy reference surface
    9623 m²
  • Energy index
  • Energy labelling
    Minergie TI-358
Gazmend Luzi
Manager at Sunage SA
“The Polis building was a challenge on several counts. We started with a project that was already well advanced and designed using a traditional non-active cladding. Replacing the traditional cladding with our BIPV modules required a major initial analysis to find the best solution in terms of aesthetics and efficiency.“
Active solar surface 603m² 1675m²
Active solar surface ratio >25% >75%
Peak power 112 kWp 173 kWp
Building skin application Flat roof Cold facade
Monitoring Monitoring of the installation is carried out by SUPSI as part of the VersoEST project supported by the FER (Renewable Energy Fund of the Canton of Ticino). NB: The production data are not the result of monitoring.
Energy production
Source: initial project (PV facades only)
Estimation for roof + facades, only facades 34%.
Building skin
  • Application
    Standard modules are laid on a metallic support system.
  • Description
    Green flat roof insulated with mineral wool.
  • U value
    0.09 W/m²K
  • Fastening system
    Aluminium stands.

The green roof is partially covered with photovoltaic modules.

The aluminium stands ensure the rear ventilation of the photovoltaic modules.

  • Application
    PV cladding integrated in a cold facade
  • Description
    Concrete walls insulated with 24 cm of mineral wool.
  • U value
    0.14 W/m²K
  • Fastening system
    Steel grid structure. The type of fastening differs between horizontally and vertically oriented photovoltaic modules.

Close-up view of the facade.

The PV modules are secured to the walls through a steel grid structure.

  • Application
  • Description
    Triple glazing with aluminium frame.
  • U value
    0.89 – 0.92 W/m²K
  • g value

The photovoltaic modules are installed, rotated on a vertical axis, between the full-height windows and doors.

Front view of the building. Photo credits: SUPSI.

BIPV module
  • Manufacturer
  • Cell technology
  • Front glass type/customization
    Front float satin 4mm glass
  • Front glass colour
    Light grey
  • Dimensions
    Custom-made, variable (height up to 2.90m)
  • Specific power
    Abt. 100/140 Wp/m² (depends on colour/treatment)
  • Specific weight
    About 24 kg/m²
Technical details

The technique for integrating the photovoltaic modules into the vertical opaque envelope is very similar to a ventilated facade solution. The fixing system differs according to the orientation of the central axis of the modules, which are oriented either vertically or horizontally. The modules between the different storeys are set horizontally and visually create a band that can be compared to a sort of “string-course” in the aesthetics of the facade. While the PV modules between the windows are arranged vertically.

Hotspot image
Vertical section
Hotspot image
  • Total cost of the building
    BKP2 41,000,000 CHF (VAT included)
  • Price per m³  
    BKP2 991 CHF/m³ (VAT included)

The facility features a public garden landscaped with water features. Photo credits: Alessandro Rabaglio – Municipality of Lugano.

Parties involved
  • Owner
    Municipality of Lugano
  • Project manager
    Architect Marco Mattei – Real Estate Department of Municipality of Lugano
  • Architect
    Studio Mario Campi SA – Architect Rosario Galgano
  • Research partner
    SUPSI through the VersoEST project supported by the FER (Renewable Energy Fund of the Canton of Ticino)
  • Photovoltaic Installer
    Alsolis SA
  • Photo
    Alessandro Rabaglio – Municipality of Lugano and Chiara Zocchetti – CdT
Awards and recognitions