Apartment blocks, public housing
The restoration of the building for residential use in question takes place in a highly complex regulatory context, which involved the simultaneous use of instruments of a different nature: Extraordinary maintenance, Building renovation, recovery of attic and demolition-reconstruction of internal bodies.
Design choices - facade on the street
This normative articulation has had a direct impact also in terms of planning, where it was a question of deciding whether the body on the road should be subject to demolition and reconstruction, aggravating the income statement of the related urbanization charges, or subject to a conservative recovery that concerned at least its main architectural elements.
In order to want to preserve the memory of the pre-existing building as an actor on the urban scene, the project has chosen the path of contamination of languages and the stratification of forms and materials.
Specifically, the first and second floors were maintained in their original forms, while the ground floor and the additional crowning plan were completely redesigned.
We considered that, beyond the punctual stylistic choices, the technique of building on the built is bearer of value in itself because it makes the "sense of time" tangible and forces the architectural choices on the ground of the relationship with what already existed.
Design choices - building type and distribution
The preexisting complex, organized according to the most typical typological canons of Milanese popular architecture, and consisting of two L-shaped buildings with a gallery distribution, plus a third lower body for craft use, had its fulcrum in the court that they define .
The project, in order not to alter the proportions of the interior spaces despite the increase in the volume on the margins, has planned to raise the proportion of the courtyard itself so as to restore the relationship between full and empty spaces and at the same time so as to allow the realization of the underground boxes without resorting to excavations below the share of the foundations.
The other relevant aspect concerns the proposed distribution system. It provides for the construction of a new branched gallery on the three buildings, which allows access to all housing units starting from a single staircase body and a single elevator. Its articulation is strongly evocative of the traditional gallery system in its forms, without however generating significant easement.
The inner courtyard is dominated on the southern front by the presence of a sundial, which, as in some ancient Milanese houses, ennobles the external space as if it were a domestic interior. Its shadow remains imprinted on a wall entirely covered in yellow glass grit which reflects the sunlight in a shining way.
The apartments (16 in total) are differentiated not only by size and cut, but also by type and internal space (simplex, duplex and loft).
Design choices - materials
The materials used - brass, marmorino, hammered plaster, absolute black marble, blasted glass, wood, split rizzada - apparently belong to irreconcilable worlds of origin, but, in their use and in their mixture, they find a dialogue between them and with the pre-existing structures that make each other necessary, giving a strongly contemporary impression to the intervention.
In fact, what is interesting is trying to reconcile in discrete forms that discreet “know-how” typical of the Milanese post-war residential tradition that had been able to give expressive and material wealth to the new formal instances of the modern movement. The context to which we refer is therefore a cultural context rather than a specific and specific context.
The front on the road, as mentioned as the result of the overlap of the old with the new, can be considered the ideal synthesis of this approach, where the questions of style are somehow sublimated in the composition with horizontal bands that allows to bring back the different material areas and linguistic within the synthetic tripartite division of classical origin - basement, body, crown - which has characterized most of the residential bourgeoisie of Milan.
Gross Floor Area (mq)1600
Main ContractorBailo srl
ConsultantsSPS srl (struttura)
Suppliersstudio Giarba (impianti), Pietro Landi snc (opere in ferro), Bailo marmi srl (marmi)
Photo CreditsAlberto Strada-deamicisarchitetti
1994 Giacomo De Amicis (1968) starts his own professional activity; 1999 Giacomo De Amicis begins the activity (still in progress), as a professor of architectural composition under contract to the Faculty of Engineering of Pavia; 2005 year of foundation of deamicisarchitetti; 1 founding member, Giacomo De Amicis, Ph.D. in Architectural and Urban Design at the Milan Polytechnic; 3 associate professionals, Bruna Rivolta since 2005, Rossella De Stefani since 2013 and Luigi Bartoli since 2014; 120 contracts open in the last 10 years of professional activity; 82 projects realized: public spaces, public and private buildings built ex-novo, radically or extensively transformed, interiors of spaces for work and for living and installations; 6 theoretical texts written on architectural themes; 2 books written: "G. Minoletti, The canteen used at Bicocca - Unicopli 2002 ". "Old suburbs. New places. - Publicomm 2015 "