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News | 28 Mai 2020

New Petronas Research Center in Santena (Turin)

New Petronas Research Center in Santena (Turin)
NL | 05 2020

New Petronas Research Center
in Santena (Turin)
NL | 05 2020

The Malaysian multinational Petronas Lubricants, which operates in the sector of automotive and industrial lubricants and has offices in 23 countries, has decided to group together and extend its research activities, opening a new R&T centre in the province of Turin on an 80,000 square metre plot adjoining the current manufacturing plant. The main objective of the project designed by 967Arch studio in collaboration with F&M Ingegneria and the UK Broadway Malyan studio was to formulate a low-impact architectural design that would blend in with the setting, which is primarily agricultural. The pattern of the cultivated fields as seen from above is an important feature of the local landscape. The project recreates this geometry in an innovative way by encasing the building in coloured cladding that follows the outlines of the fields, adapting them to the shape of the building. The cladding featuring natural colour tones gives the new Petronas Research Center a strong sense of identity, which at the same time is coherent with the surrounding landscape. 

A sustainable core  
The facility complex, which has a total covered area of 17,000 square metres, comprises two interconnecting buildings, one primarily for office use and the other for mainly industrial type activities. The project and the construction of the research centre took into account the evaluation of its impact on the environment. The resources used in the building, the use of raw materials, its interior comfort and the energy it consumes to operate and run its activities were determining factors in the outcome of the design. The preliminary design of the Business Center was informed from the start by an approach that evaluated all possible aspects and was geared towards global certification, which is currently available under the LEED certification system. The main entrance to the building is situated along the axis dividing the two wings of the complex: the West Wing houses the laboratories, technical departments, engine test cells and workshop while the East Wing accommodates the auditorium, exhibition space, the offices serving the laboratories and the corporate restaurant, along with security and surveillance operations. The new Petronas R&T centre takes advantage of the electric brakes used in the engine test cells to convert the mechanical energy produced during tests into electricity, thereby regenerating an estimated 1.6 MW. This energy is re-used within the plant or released to the grid, adding another plus in terms of technology to the technologically state-of-the-art plant engineering.  

Physical and communication pathways 
“We worked for one year solely with the Company’s technical staff with whom we shared the value of using the building as a marketing tool,” Cesare Chichi from the 967Arch studio tells us, “It is in fact still being used today for events, from the presentation of new vehicles to meetings with the press and partners. The building has been designed with customised pathways and scenic backdrops to suit different types of visitor, whilst also respecting the confidentiality of the research areas.” “We supervised the tender for the supply of furniture,” continues Chichi “and the Company approved our recommendations; for the metal storage units we proposed Dieffebi Primo and DotBox lines and pedestal units. These highly functional furnishings are used in the technicians’ offices. All storage, including in the managerial areas, is provided using Dieffebi furniture.” The metal storage units have a Class 1 Fire Rating, are extremely hardwearing and built to high quality standards. The ability to contain the fire load allows designers greater freedom when choosing finishes and furnishings that do not perform so well in terms of fire prevention regulations. 

Size of intervention area 
17,000 square metres  
Cost of works 
35 million euros 
Petronas Lubricants Italy 
Studio 967Arch 
Design team 
Studio 967Arch, F&M Ingegneria, Broadway Malyan
New Petronas Research Center in Santena (Turin)
New Petronas Research Center in Santena (Turin)
New Petronas Research Center in Santena (Turin)
New Petronas Research Center in Santena (Turin)
New Petronas Research Center in Santena (Turin)

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