The Innovation Concept: Nature of Innovation
Nature itself is the world’s greatest innovator and shows constant cycles of renewal and adaptation, sometimes quick, like a flash of lightning, sometimes slow and gradually. The “Nature of Innovation” concept is just like that: innovation imitating nature. This is the concept that NOI Techpark is based on, where research institutes, companies and start-ups from South Tyrol and all over the globe will work together to prepare the ground for a sustainable future.
Working with representatives from South Tyrol’s business and research communities, BLS and TIS innovation park have developed the park’s “Nature of Innovation” positioning title, the initials of which give the park its name: NOI. And no other name would do a better job at reflecting what makes South Tyrol so special: depending on how you want to pronounce it, NOI can either sound like the Italian word for “we” or the South Tyrolean dialect word for “new”.
The NOI Site: From Heavy Industry to Innovation Environment
NOI Techpark is currently being built on the former premises of the 1937 Montecatini aluminium works in the Bolzano South business park. In the 1990s, the name of the works was changed to Alumix. The site is an important part of South Tyrol’s industrial history and historically significant and politically charged alike: the works are an excellent example of Mussolini’s fascist Italy trying to industrialise South Tyrol and make it more Italian by relocating Italians to work here.
Between 1937 and 1940, the land south of South Tyrol’s capital city, Bolzano, changed considerably as the extensive orchards were cut down to allow for the construction of these huge works. During WWII, a total of 1,700 workers produced two thirds of Italy’s overall aluminium in this factory. Melting aluminium requires enormous amounts of energy, which was supplied to the works’ two large power transformer buildings from the electrical plants located in the vicinity of the works.
The monumental principal structures “Bolzano 1” and “Bolzano 2”, once housing the power stations, are rationalist 1930s Bauhaus-style buildings and are protected as architecturally significant historic buildings. In 2008, “Bolzano 1” was restored for the European Biennial of Contemporary Art “Manifesta 7” and has been used for cultural events ever since.
The site’s history:
- 1937: The aluminium work “Bolzano 1” starts operation
- 1940: “Bolzano 2”, the second production line, is commissioned
- 1940–1945: The works produce two thirds of Italy’s overall aluminium
- 1991: Alumix takes over the works
- 2004: Power stations become listed historic buildings
- 2006: South Tyrol’s government decides that the protected buildings are to be used as part of a technology park
- 2007: Call for tenders in planning competition starts. John Norman Leslie Oldridge and Chapman Taylor LLP (UK) win the bid together with Bolzano-based architect Claudio Lucchin
- 2010: South Tyrol’s government approves the strategic concept for the premises
- 2011-2012: Adaptations, project planning and commissioning of BLS
- 2013: Call for tenders for construction work
- 2015: Start of construction
- 2017: Inauguration of NOI Techpark
Space Allocation Plan
Earmarking of Funds