The urban fabric around Porta Venezia in Milan is stratified, having initially experienced a period of expansion in the late 19th-century. Apartment and office blocks can be found near other structures used as warehouse space or garages, although not all the buildings are still used. It is an area clogged with the accumulated urban transformation of different periods.
The project in question is located in just such a composite urban landscape, between Viale Piave and Via Kramer, and uses complementary strategies to create two practically adjacent buildings with a total of 15 apartments and basement level parking. The one is a new build - replacing a disused workshop - that rises 7 floors in a complex volume. The other is the transformation of a disused garage, with a notable barrel vault that has been kept to give the building a recognisable silhouette.
The taller building has variously sized units, from relatively small ones to upper-floor apartments that span entire levels as well as a two-storey loft cut by diagonal. The structure is complex with scattered accents. It develops through the addition and subtraction of volumes, including glazed, protruding loggias that add dynamism to the façade, and corner loggias that lie flush with the line of the building, lightening the appearance. The use of wooden panels on the floors, ceilings and walls creates colour highlights that add to the overall appearance. The continuity of the volume is broken, creating space for terraces on the upper floors decorated with plants that recall the vegetation around the building. The façade uses differences to create a composition in which the colours and materials are linked to the addition and subtraction of volumes. The use of Pietra Piasentina stoneware cladding, with its soft, striated grey hues, provides an ideal backdrop that foregrounds elements, while adding refinement. White horizontal and vertical bands mark the protruding loggias and create geometric patterns that reinforce the overall use of accents.
The transformation of the building with the barrel vault involved foregrounding the shape of the roof, leaving the units as a series of transversal sections of the building, across multiple levels. The natural light that streams in through the skylights and flush flap windows is central to the design. The units are laid out vertically, creating a dynamic interaction with the roof. The addition of terraces at the middle level adds a horizontal extension that extends the units, brining both natural light and privacy.
Client: Piave 12
Gross Floor Area: 3,705 m2
Cost of Construction: 5,000,000 Euros
Architects: LPzR architetti associati − Gabriele Pranzo-Zaccaria e Federico Reyneri
Art Director: LPzR architetti associati − Gabriele Pranzo-Zaccaria
Structural: Fvprogetti − Filippo Valaperta
Technical Systems: Italprogetti − Fabio Spinoni
Photography: © Carola Merello
LPzR was established to bring together the professional expertise of its founding partners in different fields of architecture, ranging from urban and architectural design through to project management.
The firm is characterized by the close attention paid to the quality of it architecture and structural engineering. LPzR works with a demanding clientele that requires a contemporary architectural product of high aesthetic and functional value combined with affordable construction costs.
With its expertise in managing the creativity and design phase as well as the technical and financial aspects, the firm has produced many residential designs that have been featured in important national and international architecture journals. Alongside designs by the foremost Italian architects, the January/February 2010 edition of prestigious Dutch magazine A10 included the firm’s ERA3 residential project on its list of Milan’s 22 contemporary buildings of greatest architectural interest.