Begun as the normal effort by the architects to conceive a synthesis between the program, a given general plan, the budget, the client’s demands, the objective of high living standards, cost effectiveness, future low maintenance cost, personal aspirations, a contemporary approach to design, the project lead to explore an unfiltered dialogue with the context and with natural elements, where a facade wants to be a piece of sky, a breathtaking view needs a frame, the Sun designs a front and the trees find their mirrored image on a red chinese stone...
The concept for this housing project (39 apartments, 13.920 m3) came out from the aim of designing a “smart” architecture, a “living” building able to react to different atmospheric conditions, a house where each material used has its special “task”. Also, “smart” wants to mean “cheap” as future maintenance expenses are expected to be below the average. This program lead to different concepts and treatments for the two main façades and guided all the design choices such as the choice of the materials, the colours or the dimensions of the openings.
North façade_ the building is here equipped with a “skin” (ventilated façade, HPL panels) which becomes a powerful architectural element as its protective task is aesthetically enforced and made evident and clear. The “skin” becomes roof as it turns from the vertical to the horizontal. The openings are reduced to the minimum in the apartments while three of the volumes which house entrances and staircases are left completely open to the light, performing as out-of-scale soft lamps at night. The colours are cold, the (mostly vertical) lines hard and the corners sharp, as this side of the building wants to evoke glacial landscapes and the “north” world.
South façade_ the design of the south façade was inspired by the presence of the sunlight. Generous balconies and terraces occupy the entire façade representing the stronger element of the front along with a system of sliding panels with moving lamellae which allows the dwellers to let the desired quantity of sunlight in. The result is an ever-changing front, depending on the sun position and on the mood of the dwellers. The 4 “skyflats” (on the last floor) are equipped with large terraces and pergolas. The range of colours and the calm horizontal lines are devised in order to recall mediterranean atmospheres.
Head_the north-east corner of the building (parallel to via Karl Wolf, widely famous for its beautiful trees), was designed as a “head” for the entire construction. The chinese red stone of the façade reflects the facing trees and their changing look through the seasons. The red “head” is probably the most powerful sculptural element, since it works as an architectural connector of different planes of the façade and eventually shows extra natural designed lines provided by shadows.
The dwellings_ each apartment was designed in order to reduce to the minimum the waste of surface due to circulation and to let each room enjoy the best orientation. Bathrooms, bedrooms and service spaces are located in the north side of the slab while living spaces and kitchens face the south. During the design great efforts were made to place the entrances in a central position of the apartments to avoid dark corridors. Circulation spaces were equipped with wall closets to optimize the use of surfaces. Each dwelling has wide balconies on the southern side and a small one facing north.