AKNO’s historic building renovation projects

20 May 2021

Future, present and past

AKNO has been famous for 50 years for its logistical buildings, characterizes by a concept of creating workspaces and storage areas that is genuinely human-scale and environmentally friendly. Our business parks are appreciated for their functionality and cutting-edge construction technologies. We are also committed, especially with our AKNO Energy division, to implementing procedures and techniques to achieve high levels of energy saving.

It is no coincidence that we operate in an international context of environmental excellence such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which establishes design criteria and good site management practices for buildings that, at all levels and in all parts of the world, aspire to truly eco-sustainable architecture.

There is no doubt, therefore, that AKNO is a leading company in the construction industry, with considerable experience gained in fifty years of business, operating in the present, meeting the needs of contemporary industrial logistics, with an eye always on the future and the protection of the planet, the world we will bequeath to future generations.

However, we at AKNO are well aware that our work today is rooted in those who worked in architecture and construction in the past, and we feel we owe the best exponents of architecture between the 19th and 20th centuries. For this reason, we can also say that we have an eye on the past, but not in a sterile nostalgic or contemplative way. We believe that today, it is possible to recover and enhance some historic buildings to combine the charm of architectural history with a modern lifestyle thanks to modern technology and AKNO‘s experience in restoration and property management.

In this article, we will look at some examples of historic buildings that we have recovered and given a new life and often a new function in the urban fabric of their cities.

Chiattone’s Lugano

Mario Chiattone, the nephew of the sculptors Antonio and Giuseppe, was one of the architects who left the most significant mark on the city of Lugano in the era of Futurism and subsequent years, with many works carried out from the 1920s until shortly before his death in 1957.

AKNO intervened in the capital of the Canton of Ticino with the purchase of the two Palazzi Chiattone, which were renovated to create offices and flats, and then with the acquisition of Palazzo Serenella, the historic headquarters of Amaro Giuliani.

Still in Canton Ticino, AKNO Suisse is implementing a project in Stabio to renovate the Bagni Termali and build a new residential and commercial district.

As always, history, in this case, the fascinating history of bourgeois architecture from the first half of the twentieth century in the Lombardy-Ticino area, is the basis on which our project to build new functional realities at the service of the community works, in full respect of the past and with particular attention to environmental sustainability.

Rediscovering Art Deco in North America

Since 2006 AKNO has also been working in the North American market, both in the USA and Canada, to enhance buildings, typically from the early 20th century, and  breathe new life into these extraordinary works of architecture, making them functional again and attractive to the property market.

One of the most exciting projects of our divisions in North America is undoubtedly the redevelopment of the Canada Building, a fascinating 14-storey office tower built in 1928 in the centre of Windsor, Ontario. With its vertical lines that seem to dialogue particularly well with the cloudy skies, this real Art Deco jewel has been entirely refunctionalized and returned to the city’s real estate market, maintaining unaltered lines and details, such as the period chandeliers.

In the United States, AKNO also acquired the Book Tower in Detroit (Michigan) and completely renovated it, giving new light to this neo-Renaissance masterpiece built in 1916. The result is a modern and functional building with spaces suitable for offices and homes, but which still has lifts with brass floral decorations and a clock supported by two bronze cupids. We are proud that thanks to our work, it is now possible to live and inhabit  all the comforts in the atmosphere of the beginning of the last century.

AKNO has decided to invest more and more energy in the restoration of historic buildings to maintain a direct and continuous link between the past, present and future of architecture, understood as the art and technique that create spaces for human living.