The Sottomarina district of Chioggia has plenty of history and tourist pretensions. It is home to the Oversea Building, a six-storey construction with a basement quite near the sea. This edifice, with 20 apartments and 30 garages spread across the ground and basement floors, stands in an area that was largely developed in the 20th century, with space having been made for this structure by tearing down a building. The design seeks not only to create a long-term eco-sustainable structure, using innovative technology, but also a very notable building. Much of the built fabric here is rather ordinary and somewhat rundown, but this volume is anything but that. It stands out, saying "new building, new image and new technology". It is about creating a truly comfortable and high quality edifice.
The parallelepiped shape rises deliberately, imposing itself on the surrounds. Initially, one is struck by the size, a perception that is reinforced by the uniformity of colour across three of the four elevations. As one continues to look at the building, one's eye is drawn to how the balconies, with opaque parapets, are repeated in a near continuous pattern all the way around the structure. These are large elements, almost terrace-like, and define the shape of the building through how they jut out and contrast to the actual wall of the building, which becomes a secondary, almost fleeting aspect dotted with windows. The rigidity of this pattern, with the consequent highlights and shadows, creates the rhythm, which is reinforced by the dividing walls - rising the full height of the building - that provide a sense of privacy and demarcate the edge of the apartments.
The horizontal and vertical pattern created by the solid balconies and dividing walls is broken on the southern elevation, where the photovoltaic panels are located and more rounded angles are used. The structure that is attached to the facade is both functional in that it provides electric power and decorative, bringing an intangible sense, hiding the framework of balconies and dividing walls and visually breaking up the uniformity.
Thus, the building has a dual image, from the north and the south. It juxtaposes the heavy image of the overhanging balconies with the more ethereal, technological and decorative side, although both are parts of the same architectonic idea of placing accents in the composition.
The entrance areas are both rigorous and abstract. The concrete floor has a quartz finish, the stairwell, made of reinforced concrete, is located in the centre and the walls are painted concrete. Together, these elements form the basis around which structures and defining architectural elements are added.
The use of technology to achieve eco-sustainability is equally significant and central to the design. The building has a geothermal installation and heat pump, solar panels on the roof, photovoltaic panels, underfloor heating and cooling, inbuilt dehumidifiers in all the apartments and automation devices to manage each individual unit.
Location: Chioggia, Venezia
Client: Ghirardon Group
Gross Floor Area: 3325 m2
Architects: Arch. Simone Micheli
Contractor: Costruzioni Clodiensi
Impianti Idrotermosanitari: Idrosistemi
Structural PV Glazing: EnergyGlass
Sub-structure Supporting Façade: Vega Systems
Glulam Beams: Bertani Enrico
Lift: Clodia Elevatori
Security Doors: Okey
Switches, Sockets and Cover Plates: Ave
Photography: ©Juergen Eheim
Simone Micheli Architetto
In 1990, Micheli established the architecture studio of the same name and, in 2003, the design firm Simone Micheli Architectural Hero, with offices in Florence and Milan. Between 2003 and 2009, he lectured at the Florence Faculty of Architecture. Also in 2003, he began lecturing at Polidesign and the Scuola Politecnica di Design, both in Milan. His professional career has followed different paths: from architecture to interior design, and from design to visual design and communication. He has completed numerous projects for governments and major private clients in the residential and community sectors.
Some of his major national and international awards include:
- Best Interior Design and Best Apartment Italy for his design Golfo Gabella Lake Resort, for the competition Homes Overseas Award 2007, London (international award for the best residential developments in the world)
- The International Media Prize 2008, Shenzhen, in the category Annual Public Spaces Grand Award
- The International Design Award 2008, Los Angeles, in the category Interior Design, for his New Urban Face project for the Province and the Municipality of Milan
- Interior Designer of the Year at the International Design Awards 2008, Los Angeles
- Best of the Year 2010, in the category Beauty, Spa and Fitness, organized by Interior Design Magazine, New York
- The International Media Prize 2010, in the category Annual Space Club Award, organized by Modern Decoration Magazine, Shenzhen, China, for the Atomic Spa design for Boscolo Hotels
- The TrE Number One Award 2011, Venice, for interior design
- The Contemporary Spa Award 2011, in the category Best Future Spa, Bologna, for the Marina Verde Wellness Resort, Caorle, Venice
His work has been featured in numerous Italian and international magazines, television interviews, and monographs, the latest being Simone Micheli from the Future to the Past (2012).