East Campus, a dynamic and energising reality in Lugano
Institutional Communication Service
23 March 2021
On Monday, 22 March 2021, Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI) inaugurated the East Campus with an official ceremony held in the building located in Via la Santa 1, in the Viganello district of Lugano. For USI, the event was part of the celebrations for its 25th anniversary. The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by the President of the Confederation, Guy Parmelin, head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), together with representatives of the two institutions and the cantonal and municipal authorities.
"The new campus is a new open space, a place for people to meet, learn, transfer knowledge, do research and produce new knowledge, for the benefit of all," said Monica Duca Widmer, President of the USI Council, who opened the ceremony. "It is the challenge won by those who, with foresight, wanted the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland to play an active role in the cultural and economic development of the country."
Next, the President of the SUPSI Board, Alberto Petruzzella, recalled the beginning of this ambitious project: "It all began with a revolutionary idea of Mauro Dell'Ambrogio in 2004: to put USI and SUPSI under the same roof. It took 17 years, but we made it". The project envisaged combining in the new building the Direction, the Department of Innovative Technologies and the Department of Economics and Social Affairs of SUPSI, a fifth Faculty of USI yet to be defined, the Conservatory, the Swiss Centre for Scientific Computing, and the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training. "Of the initial idea, the spirit remained, but in the end, the growing space requirements greatly reduced the number of institutions involved. That is simply because USI and SUPSI, and not only them, have grown dramatically in these almost 25 years."
After the municipal and cantonal authorities' speeches - for the City of Lugano, Mayor Marco Borradori and for the Department of Education, Culture and Sport, State Councillor Manuele Bertoli - the President of the Confederation and Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin took the stage. Guest of honour, Guy Parmelin, underlined that considering the ongoing pandemic, this inaugural event has a special significance, a message of hope that is more than welcome. The Federal Councillor then paid tribute to "the proverbial strength and perseverance of Ticino", pointing out how our country needs this energy, builders and academics, as well as entrepreneurs and researchers - also to respond to the strategic guidelines of the EAER for digitisation and technological innovation. In conclusion, Guy Parmelin spoke to students and researchers to tell them that the Federal Council is well aware of the extraordinary situation, whose equally extraordinary measures cannot replace the physicality of university life, that is based on discussion and the exchange of opinion and experiences - but the new Campus is waiting for them, allowing them to learn, experiment, debate, create and innovate.
The East Campus is located in Lugano, in Via la Santa 1, Viganello district. It contains classrooms, offices and laboratories for training and research of the USI Faculties of Informatics and Biomedical Sciences, the SUPSI Department of Innovative Technologies, and the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence (IDSIA), a joint USI-SUPSI institute. The facility also has several common areas, a multi-purpose hall, an exhibition area, a cafeteria, a nursery and spaces for sports activities. It will accommodate approximately 600 staff, 1.000 students in basic training and 800 students in continuing education. The architectural project, entitled Zenobia, is the work of architects Simone Tocchetti and Luca Pessina from Ticino. They were present at the inauguration ceremony to show the structure to the guests and illustrate their project. For more details, see the attached information sheet (in Italian only).
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