The focus in regenerating and transforming this old manufacturing plant was to build a complex that combines space for private housing and an exhibition area for a much-loved collection of cars and motorbikes. City planning regulations required the volumes and shape of the old building to be left unchanged, so the shed-like roof was retained for the transversal building section. This meant the pre-existing look of the building was kept, but the living quality was radically improved. The original L-shaped layout was centred on a rectangular yard, providing an open space that has become part and parcel of the residence through the use of large glazed sections and direct access from the living room to the yard.
The design is very precise in defining the features of the transformation, producing a carefully organised layout in which the living area - spread across two storeys - and the exhibition zone are closely linked, but also evidently differentiated. The height of the volumes provided room for the design to develop areas in different directions. First, the link area includes a compact block with a small skylight well, creating a "house within the house" and providing a space for utilities rooms and bedrooms, on the upper floor. The geometry is crisp and sharp. The dry white walls contrast with the old exposed brick walls from the original building that are now the perimeter walls. Secondly, the double-height living room is a strikingly airy development with a large fireplace. It dominates the western wing of the complex and looks out onto the courtyard. The exhibition area is also double height, both in the area for displaying the cars and in the narrow corridor with a slightly raised base along the northern wall, which is for the motorbikes.
The external elevations and roof are made of a variety of materials, as if defining different sectors by colour. Pre-weathered zinc-titanium panels clad the outer part of the roof, while, on the underside, the beams and metal ceiling are visible in the exhibition area, providing an element of continuity with the original industrial structure.
The newly built sections are divided into sectors. Grey compressed concrete blocks with a canneté pattern provide a vibrant and dynamic fabric-like feeling that is created by the space between the modular elements. Sections of Parklex facade - a high performing and very resistant high-density stratified timber panel - creates a sequence of warm colour nuances that perfectly matches the wooden doors and windows and the internal industrial oak flooring.
Location: Provincia di Varese
Gross Floor Area: 750 m2
Architects: Franzetti&Primi Architetti Associati
Contractor: Alfano Costruzioni
Structural: Stefano Rodoni
Zinc-Titanium RHEINZINK Roofing : Alpewa
Perimeter Walls: Vibrapac
Ventilated Timber Walls: Parklex
Ceramic Flooring and Surface Finishes: Ceramica Vogue
Timber Flooring and Surface Finishes: Woodco
Switches, Sockets, Wall Plates: Eclettis
Video Entry Phone System: Siedle
Up-and-Over Garage Doors: Silvelox
Furnishings: Spotti Arredamenti
Photography: © Maurizio Montagna
Franzetti&Primi Architetti Associati
After graduating with first class honours in architecture from Milan Polytechnic in 2003, and receiving their license to practice their profession a few months later, Aldo Franzetti and Micaela Primi were involved in a variety of areas of design and construction. In 2010 they established Franzetti&Primi Architetti Associati. Centring on their key areas of expertise, the founding members focus on architectural design and drafting, worksite management, and accounting. Mainly involved in the private residential sector, the studio dedicates the utmost attention to every level, down to the finest details.