Guiding variations: Residential and commercial development
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Guiding variations: Residential and commercial development

Park Associati

Guiding variations: Residential and commercial development
By Francesco Pagliari -
The plan by Park Associati for this residential and commercial development in Azzate offers food for thought. The core of the complex focuses on combining architectural elements that create a subtle vision of modernity. A step-by-step approach contributed to creating an overall uniformity in the design, with concepts applied to achieve variety, efficiency and integration. The general intention was to create contrasting forms to delineate the different areas of the buildings, while avoiding any disruption to the landscape, which was embraced as a key element of the design. Another key aspect of the design was to encourage the eye to follow the lines of the building towards the rolling hills to the east, while following and accentuating the natural contours of the site and creating a view from the street that emphasizes the different architectural features.
The building, which is above street level, comprises two blocks connected at ground level by a small shopping court. This connection makes it possible for the line of the two blocks to follow the curve of the road, which in turn draws attention to the different composition and orientation of each block. Neither has a regular, straight façade but more of a sequence of angles that fragment and energize them with contrasting concave-convex lines as they fan out from the shopping court. Inside, the residential units turn the resulting slanting walls into a design feature in the layout of bathrooms, kitchenettes and utility areas.
The façade of the south-facing building has scenic balconies on the first and second levels, creating a powerful horizontal emphasis that both unifies the block and lightens its volume. Movable aluminium sun-shading protects the apartments, which are set back from the line of the façade, and stairwells from strong sunshine. The sun-shading is randomly placed to underscore the design of the west-facing frontage.
The second block, which faces north, has windows in different sizes, flush-set terraced balconies, and dark coloured bow windows that create a dramatic contrast with the pale frontage. Narrow larch slats provide sun-shading for the stairwells while superimposing a vertical effect on the façade’s continuous horizontal line.
The use of the same architectural elements, materials and cladding has given a unity to the overall feel of the development. The masonry sections of the façades are rendered. The garages for the development, accessed directly from the road, are located on the ground floor of each block, with the area identified by horizontal larch slats, a distinctive natural material with warm nuances. The double-pitched roof is a traditional theme that has been given a new lease of life with an asymmetrical slope and sheet aluminium for immediate impact. The top floor gets both light and fresh air via the flush windows and terraces set into the roof. Both blocks have been designed to incorporate the same type of duplex dwellings on the second and third floors.

Francesco Pagliari

Location: Azzate, Varese
Client: FIM Group
Completion: 2011
Gross Floor Area: 3367 m2
Architects: Park Associati – Filippo Pagliani, Michele Rossi
Design Team: Danilo Annoscia, Andrea Dalpasso, Marinella Ferrari, Marco Neri, Pietro Pezzani, Paolo Uboldi
Contractor: Albini & Castelli

Structural: Eugenio De Amici
Heating and Plumbing: Zanzi & Fornasieri
Electrical Installations: S.I.G.I.E.

Timber Doors and Windows: Italserramenti
Aluminium Doors and Windows: Euroser F.lli Rota
Timber Panelling: Merlo

Photo by: 1/4-6/8-10 © Andrea Martiradonna, 5-9 © Leo Torri

Park Associati 
Founded in Milan in 2000 by Filippo Pagliani and Michele Rossi, Park Associati is an architectural design studio involved in projects of various dimensions in the commercial, industrial and residential fields. An equally important part of the firm’s work is interior design, to which it devotes an artisan-like attention to detail.
The firm draws its inspiration from the project itself and the latest technological, functional and formal advances, which it maintains in a constant balance and dialogue with the environment, with the aim of bringing together local identity and technological innovation.

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