The complexity of the building’s technology has grown exponentially in the last decades.
In the contemporary architectural pratice there is an almost paradoxical proliferation of rules and norms, with an constantly increasing demand of improved acoustic, thermal and ecological performances of the building. In order to respond to the surging standards, an increasing number of experts and specialists is involved in the design process. Each of them follows a different agenda that not always correspond to the project´s conceptual core. Technical reasons, in most cases easier to explain and difficult to argue against, increasingly supersede much more complex architectural necessity. A recurrent argument in the architectural practice concerns the architect’s role and responsibility on the definition of the technical detail. It is already usual praxis in many countries to confine the architect’s involvement to the conception of a “general design” and, less frequently, a small number of “leading details”, while relaying on the general contractor to elaborate all remaining technical planning. The inevitable consequence of such an approach is that technical details, on which essential architectural qualities of the building depend, are resolved based only on the logic of efficiency and profitability. It can be argued that the role of the technical detail has transformed from being an instance of control of the consequent translation of architectural concept in construction to an instrument constantly disputed by numerous and different interests that inform the construction’s process. The actual debate fails to acknowledge an essentail link between concept and detail, an intrinsic relationship that has always defined the design process. When we decouple the architectural concept from his technical implementation, ignoring his cyclical interdependency of this two poles, we deactivate a fundamental mechanism of the creative process.
Berlin (DE) 2008
The site, in the middle of the old town centre, characterized by its brick architecture and rich landscape of lakes and connecting waterways, included a listed former school building. The competition’s task was to design a new communal library providing extensive reading space and offices for the staff.
A new compact building accommodating reading areas is connected to the existing one where the offices are located. The complex geometry of the roof echoes the surrounding roof-landscape and at the same time provides a unifying background to the common reading area.
The added building block, built with massive load-bearing brickwalls of 65 cm of same size and color as the school’s building is consistent with their construction’s tradition. The resulting new complex combines historical and contemporary architecture typologies that are conceptually different but still intimately related through subtly tuned formal patterns and common construction’s technology.
The masters` houses
Dessau (DE) 2014
The repairing of the ensemble of the Bauhaus Masters’ houses required a design strategy that could recomplete the original composition without recurring to a philological reconstruction of the missing parts, while remaining intelligible as a contemporary intervention. The project redraws the volumes of the missing buildings in casted insulating concrete but decline any further similitude through a consistent reduction of conventional technical details. The diffuse light required for the new exposition’s spaces in the new volumes is provided by fixed glass panels placed in the original position
and size of the historical windows. The interior spaces of the completing volumes are articulated through wooden structures that fragmentarily
retrace the original layout, which accommodate staircases, elevator and all technical infrastructure. The ensemble has become a hybrid alloy of past and contemporary architectures that, while allowing the recognition of its constituents, still enable the observer to experience the compositional qualities of the lost original.
Karlsruhe (DE) 2014
The Kindergarten for the University in Karlsruhe mediates the requirements of a direct relationship between internal and external spaces with the urban situation demanding a compact multistoried block to be inserted in the campus context. The massive block in insulated concrete is “carved” by different exterior spaces (a court at the first floor, loggias on each level and a roof terrace) witch provide alternative outside playgrounds accessible within the building and allow the light to penetrate. To further increase this complex mixture of internal and external spaces each floor “rotates” at each level adding variability to the façade structure and diversity in the relationship to the surroundings. An apparently random pattern articulates the concrete rough façade that combines aluminum windows and a set of deep shadowed loggias. The materials’ choice purposely supports a strong contrast between a hard exterior and a soft interior: insulating rough concrete for the exterior walls and the internal circulation space and smooth plaster and warm Linoleum for the children’s playroom’s.
Lugano (CH) 2014
The Kindergarten in Lugano concieved as a single floor slab of aggregated modules generates an alternating rhythm of volumes and open spaces, giving a new meaning and coherence to a previous undefined urban situation. The building follows a urban pattern where to every children’s group corrisponds a house consisting of 5 modules, (wardrobe, toilettes, dining and playing rooms) each time arranged in a different pattern. The chosen grid of 56 modules explores the possibilities of modularity, enabling diversity without sacrificing the vantages of serial reproduction. The resulting tension between repetition and diversity of combination intensifies the richness of the space’s experience. The trapezoidal ground geometry and the twisted surface of its roof intentionally avoid the regularity of orthogonal geometry. The flowing of the spaces in one another without intermediating circulation allows great flexibility keeping the actual organization open to future alternative permutations.The modularity of the construction technology in full load bearing wood panels enabled a high level of prefabrication and short construction’s time.