Itis a project on a rural building of the ‘20s-‘30s flanked by a building datingback to the '70s, not at all consistent with the context. The existing volumeshave a facade facing south while the rest of the building borders with otherproperties and is therefore completely closed. The theme of thecontiguity of the volumes, also traceable in spontaneous ruralarchitecture, becomes key in the design process.
Thisproximity means that the perception of buildings is absolutely differentdepending on the point of view. Very close volumes seem to merge into a singleentity. The main intent is to build the project by adding as little as possible.
Theproject takes note of the definition of the two volumes; on the one hand, thetall building with the two-pitched roof, on the other, the low building withthe roof terrace. The project builds a linear parapet that closes therectangular geometry of the facade. Close to the opening where the accessstairs to the first floor are inserted, we worked with the desire to make clearthe slight separation between the two volumes. The retreat of the parapet forthe width of the staircase and the partial wood cladding become functional tothe perception of the measured detachment. A new wooden box protrudes to asmall extent on the second floor, clearly defining the composition of thefaçade.
Themain theme of the project is to transform elements that are considereddisturbing in quality elements, returned to the community with new values and meanings. Theproject is superimposed on the existing building, operating a limited set ofmodifications, in such a way as to return a new, unitary and balanced image. A forgotten building isregenerated through architecture; the landscape is transformed through theacquisition of a measured intervention, charged with new meanings. Architecturedenounces the deficiency of the urban context of the town. The simplicity ofthe building highlights the lack projects in the surroundings.
Theproject deals with the renovation of a building that is located in a contextcharacterised by the presence of residential multi-storey condominium. It is anon-urban building from the 20s-30s completely out of context, adjacent to abuilding from the 70s. Due to being incomplete, it has always been considered atear, a cut.
Thebuilding is composed of two main bodies of different heights. The first body isto be considered the original building and composed by a ground floor, twoupper floors and an attic. It has the majority of its perimeter bordering otherbuildings; despite this it has an L-shape that allows it to have part of itsfaçade with windows to the west and the whole façade to the south composed by aseries of different sized openings. The second body is composed of a groundfloor and a first floor. It does not seem to be completed even though perfectlydefined in its volume.
Theproject intends to renovate the whole building without proceeding to anydemolition of curtain walls, but substituting their covering. The themeof proximity of the buildings, traceable also in the local rural architecture,becomes central in the project process. This proximity makes the perception ofthe buildings completely different depending on the point of view. Very closevolumes seem to merge in one unique entity. The main intent is that of buildingthe project while adding as little as possible.
Theproject acknowledges the definition of the two buildings; on one side, the tallbuilding with double pitched roof, on the other, the low building with thecovered terrace. The project eliminates the cantilever slab in the low buildingand creates a linear railing that closes the rectangular geometry of thefaçade. Close to the stairwell to the first floor, the renovation intentionallytried to make the separation between the two spaces more evident. For thisreason, moving back the railing for the width of the stairs and the partialstone covering are functional to the perception of the two elements.
Thewalls’ finish is in rustic plaster and it is present on both bodies. Thedecision of one material is connected to the desire to not make a cleardistinction between the two blocks. A series of light and shadows help to makethe two figures noticeable (tall house with roof/low volume with terrace). Thechimney on the façade will be moved and the gutter will maintain its ledge;this way, the design of the original covering will remain unvaried. On the tallhouse, the façade geometry retraces the original one faithfully. However,dimension and alignment of the windows are going to be revisited. The project overlaps the existingbuilding, working on a limited number of changes, so as to offer a new, unitedand balanced image. The introduction of these small variations is abreakthrough and it transforms the location.
Thewhole wall surface has been treated with rustic plaster laid with trowel. The addition of coloured pigments and the impossibility ofperfectly managing times and laying methods have created different tones.This difference was already present in the original walls that varied,depending on the design, from white to hues of grey. The only painted façadewas the one to the south, facing the street and the public. The project respects this ruleand turns it into an added value.
The external original staircase is a steep incline to thefirst floor that through the rusticity of the material (the same plaster laidwith trowel) emphasizes the archaic space; a gorge, a rift to climb reverently. Fir woodis the material used for doors and windows, shutters and for the block on thesecond floor. Twogeometrically defined elements constitute the façade hierarchy: the protruding wood block in itscompact shape and the large door that closes the entrance of the stairs. Intentionally, the latter changesits dimensions: it becomes huge and to open it and lean it against wall oneneeds to use the first steps coming out of the building. Opening this door becomes aritual with precise and essential gestures. Opening a door this big inevitably raises expectations.
Thecompact wood space protruding from the gutters includes a small coveredterrace. It allows you to stay outdoors, but protected from snow and rain. The volume intentionallyprotrudes out of the edge of the covering; on the outer part, snow falls,mounds and highlights this small space, it claims its presence. Other wooden parts are faithfulto the need to show their simple and rigorous geometry.
Theinteriors are bright and white. The interest was focused on bringing thedifferent exterior lights inside. In winter, with the light diffused from thesnow, the interiors are filled by an amazing white light. The light plasters,the fir wood and the durmast flooring are functional to the pursuit of ageneral balance. A small skylight allows the light to go through a floor andarrive unexpectedly in the small kitchen and this doesn’t always happen sincein winter snow covers this little window. However, in spring the snow melts andlets the light through the building. A surprise, another ritual with differenttime and methods.
Thestairs in white metal end in front of an opening that takes you to the highestterrace. Through this opening, the light fills the stair with a differentintensity depending on the time of the day. The white metal and the woodencover merge in a sensation of perfect symbiosis. The sound of going up and down the stairs is muffled; the stairsannounce that someone is arriving on the upper floor or will appear in a momentin the lower floor. By using it, we can create a new ritual. The rooms of theliving area are like communicating vessels, it is possible to cross thebuilding with a glance and, through the alignment of the windows on theopposite sides, to extend the vision to the outside. The project was born thanks to an attentive reading of theexisting structure and its intrinsic rules. It’s already part of the project todiscover the meaning or the unexpressed possibilities. This allows for theselection and reduction of renovations. Everything changes within the existingurbanized context in a simple and very strong acute.