The World Trade Centre in San Marino fuses many major themes in Foster + Partners’ architecture, in particular the creation of a new public realm, urban regeneration and the long-term environmental benefits from mixed-use developments with built-in flexibility.

The World Trade Centre in San Marino will provide living and working accommodation for the local population, but more importantly will create an exciting new public space served by shops, restaurants and cafes. It is more than a single building – it is a catalyst for urban regeneration.

Adaptability is vital to the future of our cities. Working patterns have become much more flexible over the last two decades. In response to technological developments, working patterns will no doubt continue to change. We cannot predict the precise nature of these developments, but we can build flexibility into the structure of buildings so that they can continue to be useful as circumstances alter. This is the case with the World Trade Centre in San Marino. This project takes the mixed-use proposition to its logical conclusion – it not only combines apartments, offices, shops and restaurants within the same building, but provides a structure that allows individual units to be easily adapted from offices to apartments should the need arise in the future.

The development also provides another public amenity – a much-needed car park to serve not only the development itself, but also the broader local community. No-one wants to look out from the new building and see an ocean of cars, and so the car park has been integrated within the site, partially buried. A concern for the physical context has produced a solution that is sensitive to the culture and climate of their place. Drawing upon the vernacular traditions of this wine-growing region we have created a pergola – or plant-covered roof trellis – covering the car park, providing both natural shading for the cars and an attractive visual shield.

A building cannot be viewed in isolation but must be seen as part of the larger urban context. With its combination of office space, apartments and leisure facilities, the World Trade Centre in San Marino will create a new public focus within the city and will act as a magnet for future development. The World Trade Centre building will become a modern iconic beacon for the area and a symbol of San Marino’s investment in its economic future.

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