From a crasftsman workshop to a private dwelling: restoration of a building in Faenza old town
THE EXISTING STATE: an old workshop in the historical city centre.
Deserted buildings, distinguished by decadence charm, can become the scene of urban growth, even in small scale interventions. That is what happened to the building in vicolo Gottardi, in Faenza old town, few meters from one of the main streets of the city. Used in the past as a carpenter’s workshop, the building still preserves the characteristics and materials of a raw place, such as concrete and unplastered bricks. It relates to the private courtyard through large stained glasses with distinctive steel frames.
RENOVATION PROJECT: from workshop to private home.
The old building has been transformed from workshop into dwelling and, in particular, into a loft with a distinctive contemporary mark and material atmosphere. The pre-existence becomes the container of a new house made by open and bright spaces, custom-made furniture, fine finishes and materials that, both preserved and renewed, maintain a natural look with raw details.
The house develops on two storeys, a private courtyard and a cellar restored into a basement room. The living area, on the ground floor, has been converted in a unique open space, distinguished by tailored furniture designed to enhance the existing traces of the previous function. The façade on the street has been re-designed with a new openings composition; the façade on the private courtyard has been renovated in a contemporary way: the large stained steel windows and brick vaults playing the leading role.
KITCHEN AND DINING ROOM: industrial character evocation.
It is the most emblematic space of the house, situated in the area once used as joiner’s workshop. With the intention of enhancing the architectural and symbolic elements of the old function, the kitchen area is a combination of metal and wooden furniture with ‘material’ and accentuated texture. The exposed ceiling shows the original sequence of brick vaults reinforced by metal inserts and the old drive shaft, once used to operate the machinery, is transformed into an artwork. The large arched stained windows let natural light in and contribute to recall the industrial atmosphere. The original steel frames have been polished and repositioned on the façade in front of the new low transmittance window frames.
LIVING ROOM: a contemporary open space.
The living area, situated near the entrance, is a transition space between the kitchen and the sleeping area on the first floor. It shows an open space of contemporary design. The flooring, in continuity with the kitchen, is made of resin to create a raw surface with undertones and imperfections. The walls are painted, instead, in ivory shades. In the middle of the living area, a suspended iron fireplace rusted finish painted, designed in continuity with other furniture of the house, plays the leading role. The entrance to the kitchen is also emphasized by a metal rusted finish painted frame.
STUDY AND SLEEPING QUARTERS: the first floor.
The first floor, assigned to bedrooms, is the most private part of the house. It is accessible from a new staircase leaning against the sandblasted brick wall. The staircase, with a narrow and apparently hidden configuration, opens up into the open space study room on the first floor, which is more than 4 meters at the highest point. The roof exposed wooden warp, consisting in both old and new beams, is white lacquered, the flooring is in oak wood, the walls are painted in white shades and the doors are wall flush.
CELLAR: a recovered space.
The cellar has been restored to become a comfortable space for the inhabitants as a basement room with a large wine cellar. It is an evocative place with unplastered brick vaults and natural stone surfaces. The cellar restoration develops from designing the access through a new concrete staircase to cleaning operations and space restyling. All the brick wall has been enhanced by sandblasting.
CUSTOM-MADE FURNITURE: the value of craftsmanship in a house with a customized design. Signs of the past and contemporary solutions coexist in a stimulating formal dialogue. A combination of metallic and wooden furniture, with an accentuated and material texture, recalls the atmosphere of the old craftsman workshop.
The kitchen island is a pure presence, characterized by white shades matt surfaces and a quartz countertop. By contrasts, the storage cabinets’ are made of walnut wood veneered elements designed in a modular way; the flutes on the surface create a vibrant composition that plays with lights and shadows. The kitchen wall piece of furniture is designed as a light and minimal metal framework made of iron, rusted finish painted. A solid cabinet composed by walnut wood drawers, with frontal frames and glass, stands at the bottom and it is the emblem of craftsmanship. The kitchen hood is also custom-made with the same minimal metal framework, rusted finish painted. The relation between the ancient drive-shaft on the ceiling and the new hood that comes from the ceiling itself into the centre of the space, draws attention to the purpose of the designer, which is the old and new living together.
Alessandro Bucci. Faenza, 1964. He graduated at the University of Florence in 1991. From 1993 he collaborated with the Faculty of Architecture of Ferrara where, until 1995, he was assistant to Professor Massimo Carmassi. From 1997 to 2012 he was a professor in some Italian university such as the IUAV (Venice University), the Faculty of Architecture of Cesena (University of Bologna) and the Faculty of Architecture of Ferrara. His office, Alessandro Bucci Architects, started about 25 years ago, relies on the collaboration of a team of young professionals. It deals with ex industrial areas restoration, transformations of parts of the city, of rural artefacts, new urban developments, masterplans and metaprojects, interior design, development of new housing units prototypes and renovation projects. Looking for a correct dialogue between built and its surrounding, we believe that a project is built from a vision rather than from the rules: it is infact necessary to imagine before organizing.