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Published: Saturday, June 23, 2007

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Rowing Nautical Base

An intervention in a popular public space in Torno, Italy adopts a humble design approach, sinking into the earth to blend in with the existing architecture and physical landscape.


Architecture-Page | Rowing Nautical Base by MARC
Exterior view of the dressing area at night.

Project Details

  • Project Name: Rowing Nautical Base
  • Client: Associazione sportiva Plinio Torno
  • Project Type: Architectural design
  • Principal Designer: Michele Bonino
  • Design Team: Verena Caetano da Silveira, Rebecca Gasco, Philippe Lemay, Luca Maletto, Cristina Marietta, Stefano Oletto
  • Contractors: Impresa Bertolini, Artmetal
  • Structural Design: Alessandro Bosisio
  • Year of commencement of project: 2004
  • Year of completion of project: 2006
  • Location of site: Torno, Como, Italy
  • Site Area: 70 square meters
  • Built-up Area: 58 square meters
  • Cost of Construction/Execution: 110,000 Euros

Architecture-Page | Rowing Nautical Base by MARC
View of the storage for longer boats which cantilevers over the lake.

The Building

The Rowing Club Plinio Torno is placed on the west side of a large public space facing the Como Lake.

The design brief required the realization of a new nautical base in a portion of this square.

Architecture-Page | Rowing Nautical Base by MARC
A cage of plexiglas and stainless steel protects the long boats.

The design proposal "sinks" the intervention inside an existing creek of stone where the embankment is interrupted instead of competing for surface area in the public space.

The access to the boats and the facilities is thus on a lower level than the square's, allowing the descent of boats to the water without any interference between public and sport activities.

The roof of the new building is only one meter higher than the public space thus emerging as its extension and working as a new raised belvedere.

Architecture-Page | Rowing Nautical Base by MARC
Interior view of the dressing area.

The interplay among the different levels blends the new building with the existing architectural and natural landscapes and enables the building to cope with the movements of the lake, eventually absorbing occasional flooding.

The boat storage is divided in two separate volumes, the length required for the first containing long boats makes it cantilever over the lake, while the second for the shorter boats works as a connection with the stone base of the Terragni's villa.


  • Text: Courtesy of the architect
  • Photographs by Beppe Giardino, Courtesy of the architect
  • Compiled and edited by Manish Mehta

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