The masterplan for the “Incà” industrial estate at Barletta – small- and medium-sized manufacturing units arranged on a grid layout – has developed over three stages. The first two saw a condensed array of architecturally linked manufacturing buildings combining the principles of cost-containment, modular style and pre-fabricated units, with the search for a common ordering denominator and recognizable features. The estate has now been completed by an office block,“Incà 3”, housing management, professional and service premises.
The building is in the form of an oblong block 12 m deep and 70 m long, rising four storeys above ground. These are connected by a single staircase and lift ascending from the foyer which is a sober understated access point sited bottom centre and only marked by its see-through encasing glass wall. At ground-floor level a black plinth hides the garages; this is appreciably inset from the façade line, causing the whole building to appear to jut out. The intermediate floors are mainly for administration. The top floor is again set back from the façades and is protected from the sun’s glare all the way round by a metal canopy. It divides into two large open-plan spaces suitable for creative professional occasions or meetings of varying sizes.
The building style follows the principles governing the rest of the estate: formal sparseness, prefab components, cost-saving construction. “Incà 3” even carries the estate hallmarks of modularity and flexibility a step further. The intermediate floors intended for offices have a layout based on a combination of basic units varied to need, ten of them forming one floor, the choice being left to the user and not laid down ‘blind’ at the planning stage. The concept of modular units is a theme that runs throughout: from the overall estate layout, to that of each building’s inside spaces and even the style of finishing – prefab cement panels, or grey laminate, or picture window panes – and not excluding the design of communications details and standardised mounts for office logos. The way the parts combine distinguishes blocks by shape and function.
The office block design plays on a contrast between elevations: the south-facing façade is made up of many full-height picture windows irregularly broken up by white metal-louvred sun-shield partitions. These open to admit natural ventilation and let out heat in the summer months. The north elevation is composed of full wall sections and floor-to-ceiling windows with a glass-panel outer parapet. The whole arrangement is vertically staggered, which forms an abstract contrast to the regular indoor units. The north façade leads the eye horizontally by a hint of string courses distinguished by colour. The barycentric stair unit glimpsed through the glazing divides the façade into two even parts, which again gives scope for a play of balancing modular units or irregularities, symmetries and asymmetries, so typical of the whole project. Great jutting overhangs protecting windows enrich the façade composition. Indoors the communicating corridor along the south wall filters and captures the light, and also increases the sense of depth about the elevation on that side. The staircase forms an important nucleus amid the general subdued appearance of the building: stone treads jut from a central steel stanchion, and the whole staircase unit is lined with horizontal metal slats giving a glimpse down the long corridors from each landing and picking up the sunshield motif on the façade exterior.
Location: Barletta, Barletta Andria Bari
Client: Edil Bari
Gross Floor Area: 3,242 m2
Cost of Construction: 2.500.000 Euros
Architects: Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners
Contractor: Edil Bari
Flooring: Cotto d’Este
Sun shading louvers: Zenit
Photo by: 1–3 © Giorgio Cecca; 2–4, 12 © Luigi Filatici
M Massimo Alvisi and Junko Kirimoto set up Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners in 2003, the studio growing out of their earlier firm, AKD (Alvisi Kirimoto Design, 2000), and their work with the studios of Renzo Piano, Massimiliano Fuksas and Oscar Niemeyer. In 2008 they were joined by Alessandra Spiezia and Arabella Rocca and the firm reformed as an engineering company. Now with a team of twelve professionals, Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners is involved in architectural design and engineering, feasibility studies, and project management – both for their own projects and those of other architects, including Rem Koolhaas and Renzo Piano.
Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners is active in numerous areas, including the design and renovation of auditoriums, theatres, industrial complexes and office buildings; retail and restaurant design; residential and interior design; and exhibition and museum design.
Highlights among the architectural competitions in which it has participated include: the international competition ‘Meno è più di 4’ for the design of a kindergarten, community centre, park and car parking facility in Rome (winning project); an Italian competition for the restoration of the Teatro Comunale di Corato (winning project – currently under construction); the international competition ‘Piccole Stazioni Ferroviarie’ for the design and upgrading of small railway stations (project awarded with costs reimbursed); an international competition for ideas for the development of the Manzanares River to host rowing events as part of the Madrid bid for the 2016 Olympic Games (second prize); and an invitation-only competition for the redevelopment of Rome’s Giustiniano Imperatore area.