This residential development is a modern reinterpretation of the traditional country village, with its cluster of small houses around a central open area where residents can meet up and enjoy community life. 3ndy Studio designed this three-home complex plus garage at Fossò, in the province of Venice. Like in an old-style village, the residences are grouped around a central courtyard - fragments of their own urban context. The way they are scattered is no random coincidence. The town planning and construction heritage of long-established town and village centers up and down Italy, which grew spontaneously layer after layer, is testament to this. The approach is reproduced here to ward off the danger of uniformity inherent in arm’s-length town planning. Commentators have remarked upon the development’s similarity to meteoroids fallen to Earth. In actual fact, the development follows a strict compositional approach, one in which every corner, surface area, form and shadow was meticulously designed. The project’s name, “The Frag”, comes from the English word “fragment”; it clearly evokes fragmented sculptural forms. The volumes were modelled as an expression of a creative approach inspired by pure form; they are sculpted like prisms, with pronounced corners and a total absence of external cladding, chimneys or technical installations to disturb their dazzling white purity of form. Their elevations are characterized by clean, sharp, out-of-plumb surfaces. Completely plastered in white, they are positioned to offer views and perspectives out over the other volumes and the contextual backdrop. The courtyard exists as a vital and integral part of this compositional approach, as a fourth element in “negative” form: the central volume is hollowed out to create a green courtyard – the heart of the project, a hub, the meeting place for social time spent together by the different families, enfolding the fragments and focusing them all in on itself. The design process was indeed a practice in composition and hollowing out: the buildings are dug into to leave space for patios and light wells, for the space onto which the ample glazing opens, invisible from the road to maintain village inhabitants’ privacy. With no external interferences whatsoever, all of the rooms benefit from natural external light and enjoy tranquil views out over the small central patio. The buildings are connected by canopies snaking out from the volume edges. The base of these pedestrian walkways and alternating green flowerbeds trace out the building’s silhouettes projected onto the ground, creating a perfect correspondence between shadow and pathway at specific times of the day. The volumes are arranged around the courtyard as a central hub, generating specific routes that project out in a starburst pattern towards the exterior. The pattern also offers a guide to any possible future development of the project through the addition of other buildings, without altering its fundamental nature. The purity and monolithic nature of the buildings are cadenced by spatial tensions between them, shifting perspectives and an interplay of light and shadow.
Location: Fossò, Venice province
Gross Floor Area: 620 m2
Architects: 3ndy Studio
Main Contractor: Impresa Bertiato Gianluca
Doors and Windows: Simeonato serramenti
Photography: © Leonardo Scarabello
Marco Mazzetto (06/06/1973) and Alessandro Lazzari (31/01/1972) graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at Venice, in 1999. They founded 3ndy Studio in 2002, at Vigonovo in the province of Venice. From its earliest days, the practice has specialized in designing and building architecture at multiple scales. Massimiliano Martignon (15/07/1972) joined the practice in 2007 with responsibility for executive development and works management. The studio draws on in-house and external architects, designers, graphic designers and town planners; it has appeared frequently in domestic and international trade magazines.
3ndy Studio designs to CasaClima and Passive House standards. It strikes a balance between design and low energy consumption through comfortable, top-quality architectural solutions that are conceived to satisfy customer needs. 3ndyStudio is today a well-established player, with dozens of finished works in the Venice, Padua and Treviso areas. Building and moving the practice to new premises in Vigonovo in 2010 – after creating the first industrially-refurbished building in Italy to achieve Class A CasaClima standard – offered the practice a larger, more technologically-advanced structure to serve as a springboard for expansion on the domestic and international architecture markets. 3ndy Studio has won many awards, including Legambiente’s 2010 Premio all’innovazione Amica dell’ambiente, and the Agenzia CasaClima’s 2012 Premio Casa Clima Padova e Rovigo.