Apartment blocks, public housing
„The small-scale, tradition-conscious culture of subsidized high-density housing in South Tyrol functions rather differently than in Europe‘s urban contexts. The volume alone of the complexes is far smaller – generally just a few dozen dwelling units. More recently, however, it has been recognized that multi-storey housing makes more efficient use of resources. The morphology of the mountainous countryside forces settlement areas to be concentrated in the valleys. On account of its attractive location between vineyards and orchards on a southeast-facing slope, just ten minutes by car from the regional capital and the Kalterer See, Eppan is a very popular residential area with innumerable single-family houses. In the case of the housing development in Eppan two cooperatives were involved who undertook the building project for 23 dwelling units under the patronage of the katholischer Verband der Werktätigen.
The proposal is a reflection on the forms, volumes and proportions - but also a statement about construction methods, color and materiality. The almost two dozen dwelling units called for, with floor areas ranging between 65 and 110 m2 including four maisonettes, an underground garage and around two parking places per apartment as well as a lot of cleverly-shaped outdoor spaces, were distributed across the sloping site in a way that most of the dwellings enjoy a view across the Etsch Valley. The fact that the five buildings have different heights strengthens the implicit character of a village that has grown naturally. The pedestrian main circulation was positioned parallel to the slope with two paths, one on the south in front of the three central buildings, the other on the north side behind them. The route on the south side connects at the end to the largest building containing terraced apartments, which steps down the slope to the main road. The path on the north side leads from the main entrance on a narrow side street through a generous „lobby“ where stands a planted open space with wood-covered terrace, bench and drinking fountain, designed by the Vienna office Plansinn.
It was not just the volumes and layout that were important but also the form and materiality of the buildings. Originally normal brick buildings were planned - but the members of the cooperative decided they wanted durable, low maintenance facades. The solution: precast, 40 cm-thick exposed concrete double walls with a core of insulation. The architects experimented with various additives in the Progress concrete works in Brixen until arriving at a colour that is hard to describe but pleasantly warm, and a subtle surface texture. It is vaguely reminiscent of the porphyry stone typical of this region and makes the buildings almost disappear in their surroundings.
The buildings have the kind of pitched roofs that are standard here, beneath which, in the top floor apartments, lovely high spatial situations are created. Many units have a loggia, in some cases extending around a corner. One apartment even has a roofed balcony which projects in a way that changes the silhouette of the building and recalls traditional Tyrolean bay windows. In contrast the openings are made as full-height French windows, Mediterranean inspiration. Social cohesion is encouraged by the ambitious design of the outdoor areas as well as by the provision of a communal space in the plinth level, in which the regular meetings of the two client cooperatives are held„by Matthias Boeckl
City39057 Eppan, Italy
ClientArche KVW, Bozen
Gross Floor Area (mq)5176
Architectsfeld72 architekten zt gmbh
Design teamSoner Ertim, Kathrin John, Kaja Kos, Gerhard Mair, Edoardo Nobili
Main ContractorPlattner Bau
ConsultantsStudio Obrist, Energytech, Plansinn
Photo CreditsHertha Hurnaus
The work of feld72 pivots on the interface of architecture, applied urbanism and art. It has implemented numerous projects of various dimensions in the national and international context, a huge range including master plans, buildings, studies on urban development, interior and exhibition design, urban strategies and large-scale interventions in the urban environment. The award-winning works are remarkable for a socially responsible, innovative and sustainable approach to architecture and urbanism. Tracking down and reinforcing the potential in locations and (social) environments is fundamental for feld72. Expanding the field of architecture within the context of its project “Urban Strategies”, the collective has been engaged since it was founded in 2002 in Vienna in tackling the issues of the use and perception of the public space. Through numerous teaching assignments at universities the approach and methodology of feld72 have been integrated into the academic discourse.