Other photos: Maurizio Montagna
For a triangular site included in the Piano Pavia-Masera (1909-1911), bounded by buildings built from the beginning of the 20th century to the Seventies, this project seeks to create a distinctly contemporary apartment building, while discussing both architecture ideas and the context, presenting itself as a current milestone in a genealogy of the Milanese house. First of all, this building solves the issue of the street relationship, without a construction along the boundaries of the block, like three exceptional precedents: the Ca’ Brütta by Giovanni Muzio, the Casa Rustici by Giuseppe Terragni and Pietro Lingeri, and the Corso Italia Complex by Luigi Moretti.
The S-form of the building was determined through a series of studies seen in diagrams that show how it meets both program and zoning requirements and also incorporates an early 20th-century classicist building on the site. This building becomes part of the residential complex, as well as being its formal entrance. The public garden Ramelli to the west now ends in the curve of the new building’s west elevation. In addition, the open form of the building is based on the determination that any continuity of the construction along the boundaries of the block would have established an excessively small and dark courtyard, and views overlooking that space that would not have been effectively resolved.
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In addition to considerations regarding the relationship with the urban fabric and the stratification of the four layers of construction, the composition is the result of two further operations, which redefines the relationship between inner and outdoor, personal and common space, therefore increase the sense of belonging and safety. The frames that characterize the fifth and sixth floors, and a giant order that embraces floors five to nine, are set forward of the actual west façade of the building. In doing so, they provide space for balconies. On the east façade, the same shift excavates the mass of the building in a carved lattice. The second operation is that the whole ensemble of floors five to nine is slightly shifted off center, producing a dynamic effect and having each transversal section of the building be unique and all of them different from each other. Due to those subtle operations--the shifts, dynamic arrangement of pilasters and frames-- the outdoor space is shaped into a continuous one that consists of a series of sectors which could be seen as semi-private balconies for each living unit. Meanwhile, different room layouts are arranged to meet internal functional requirements, providing inner space with both open view and sense of privacy. What’s more, the topmost layer, floors seven through nine, is not only a horizontal layer but, in its stepped profile and volumetric mass, is also a series of “urban villas” with large planting terraces, which introduce open space to living area and provide more possibilities for users.