Share this post

Manifattura Tabacchi, which translates to ‘Tobacco Factory,’ was inaugurated in 1940 to manufacture tobacco products. This industrial factory embodies the historical evolution of tobacco use, culminating in the creation of the famous ‘Tuscan’ cigar. Its significance extends beyond manufacturing, playing a pivotal role in Florence's economy, urban development, and socio-economic landscape. The revitalization of this project is set to transform this industrial factory into a vibrant cultural and creative hub. This district will complement the historic city centre, welcoming locals and tourists alike as a modern captivating designation in the city.

The master plan envisions a multifunctional blend, integrating both original structures and newly constructed buildings to accommodate educational institutions, workshops, laboratories, offices, co-working spaces, studio apartments, residences, a hotel, student housing, and even a brewery. The formerly sealed factory gates will now open, removing barriers to make the complex accessible to the city and the world, fostering a 24/7 hub of activity. This initiative seeks to repurpose a 110,000-square-meter brownfield site into a vibrant, sustainable hub for culture, education, tourism, and contemporary craftsmanship. It features a dynamic covered square for year-round use, including a food hall, unique shops, co-working spaces, theatres, and more, emphasizing craftsmanship while blending tradition with technology.

Our team of engineers provided a variety of services for multiple buildings, such as fire and life safety projects, code compliance consultancy, and fire modelling Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

For Fire and Life safety projects, our team developed solutions in order to reach the client’s needs and to obtain acceptance from the Fire Brigade. We set up specific projects for entire buildings, such as buildings 4, 5, and 11 (offices and commercial retail activities), with specific solutions according to the Italian standards and considering the presence of different tenants. Buildings 4 and 5 are similar because they have three floors and one basement floor each: the basement floors are used for technical and systems rooms, the ground floors are dedicated to retail activities and the other floors are offices. Building 11 is dedicated to exposition and retail activities and it is composed by two floors: on the second floor there is also an open-air terrace with some common path with buildings 4 and 5.

The projects presented several challenging characteristics. Firstly, they involved multi-tenant activities, prompting the design of strategies to manage people during emergencies. This included the implementation of emergency plans for individual buildings and the entire complex. Secondly, the historical character of the buildings necessitated the consideration of preserving original layouts. Measures such as installing external stairs for escape routes and establishing connections between buildings were implemented to address this aspect.

We carried out also CFD modelling along with the design of smoke ventilation systems. CFD was conducted for the underground parking facility referred to as "Parking B," situated within an area undergoing building renovation, encompassing a former tobacco factory complex. This garage spans four subterranean levels, descending 12 meters below the designated reference point, corresponding to road level. As part of the project scope, a smoke control system was meticulously designed to ensure a high level of safety and compliance with regulatory standards, specifically Ministerial Decree 18.10.2019 (RTO) and Ministerial Decree 15.05.2020.

This project was included in the overall fire prevention plan for the site renovation. The smoke ventilation system design followed the European standard BS 7346-7, which offers guidance on smoke and heat control systems for covered car parks. The main goal of the design was to ensure safe evacuation routes for occupants towards building exits while also providing favourable conditions for rescuers. This approach served as an alternative and equivalent method to the technical specification outlined in PR CEN/TS 12101-11, which focuses on smoke control in covered vehicle parks. It's worth noting that at the time of analysis, the latter standard had not yet been established as a harmonized European standard.

The determination of the required volumetric airflow rates to be extracted from the car park area was accomplished through CFD analysis. This analysis factored in the blending of smoke with fresh air and considered potential obstructions within the car park vicinity. To simulate the dispersion of smoke and heat, the Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS) software was employed.

This redevelopment of Manifattura Tabacchi placed a strong emphasis on sustainability and preservation, minimizing demolitions, and following energy-efficient practices. It successfully became an open, accessible space, easily reachable by public transport. Our team contributed to the project by conducting CFD modeling and designing smoke ventilation systems for the underground parking facility within a renovated area encompassing a former tobacco factory complex, ensuring compliance with regulatory standards while also adhering to European standards for smoke and heat control systems. Code compliance ensured safe evacuation routes and favourable conditions for rescuers.

Our experts played an important role in the creation of a space that blends tradition with technology, contributing to the revitalization of Florence's cityscape.

Project Details

Project Owner

Manifattura Tabacchi Development Management Srl


Manifattura Tabacchi Development Management Srl

Project Location

Florence, Italy

Estimated Project Cost

350m €



Project Size

110.000 sq. master plan

Featured Experts

MS, Fire Safety Engineering, BS, Building Engineering

View Details

Mathematical Engineering

View Details

Forensic Engineering, CFPA Europe Examination in Fire Safety, Specialization in Fire Prevention, Architecture

View Details

More from Jensen Hughes