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PADUA The lines are clear, the light is enveloping. You have to look at it from a certain distance to fully grasp the structure of the building in via del Pescarotto called Botta flower. The plan is a semicircle with five volumes arranged in a radial pattern, as if they were i petals of a flower. A clear reference to the studies related to life sciences which take place inside and for which the palace was specially designed. The home of the Department of Biology was Vallisneri, in Viale Trieste. But in 2005 the department’s leaders realized that it had become too small, the student and faculty community had grown. Within the University, discussions began on how to resolve the situation and in 2008, under the rectorate of Vincenzo Milanesi, the board of directors approved the construction of a new biology and biomedicine educational complex.
The project was entrusted to the Ticino architect Mario Botta who designed a seven-storey building which housed 18 classrooms, 25 laboratories, computer rooms, study rooms and offices. The structure has a total volume of 34 thousand cubic meters. It was inaugurated on 30 September 2014 when the rector was Giuseppe Zaccaria. At the entrance there is a central light well and the corridors of the seven floors are circular. The whole building has been designed to meet the criteria of sustainability and energy saving. Large spaces that proved to be particularly useful when the world was hit by Covid and that are also used for conferences or in-depth days with significant savings on the rent of any other centers.
They take place every year at Fiore di Botta 22 thousand hours of frontal lessons And 33 thousand of laboratory: the latter are set up according to the type of research to be carried out. There are laboratories set up with microscopes and instruments for the preparation of the samples to be observed, others set up for the preparation, purification and analysis of proteins and nucelic acids, others for the cultivation or observation of microbial, animal and plant cells, still others set up for functional physiological experiments. The classrooms are equipped not only with state-of-the-art tools but also with collections of biological preparations for the study of comparative anatomy, zoology and botany.
There are also 900 tables parietals, of which a good part of great historical value as they date back to the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These are hand-painted tables that were used to explain to students the anatomy or structure of plants, animals and now hang along the corridors of the seven floors of the Fiore di Botta. A building so large that it is no longer enough. If Vallisneri now only does research, now we need a place to concentrate the laboratories. It is for this reason that during the rectorate of Rosario Rizzuto an investigation was started to find an area on which to raise the Palace of Experiences. The acquisition will be finalized by the current director Daniela Mapelli: the chosen land is the property of Piccin Nuova Libraria spa, it is an area of 12,300 square meters between the station and the Stanga, not far from Fiore di Botta. All the laboratories will converge in it in order to free up spaces for teaching and at the same time create synergies between different disciplines, implementing research even more.
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