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Andrea Trebbi

Andrea Trebbi

Andrea Trebbi
By Luigi Prestinenza Puglisi -

The setting for Andrea Trebbi’s Meloncello project was a semi-suburban area of Bologna where a sadistic quirk of the local building regulations will not allow the existing outline to be touched. Not even to convert a common or garden block of quick-buck maisonettes into a sumptuous single-family villa. Trebbi was thus thrown back on his own wits. Clearly all trace of the old function had to go: so away with the cement strip-course, off with the curtain cladding in place of which a flat white ground sets off the few (but not ill-conceived) volume effects of the original. Away, too, with the glimpse of cosy roof tile, now screened by a metal cornice.
After wiping the petit bourgeois smile off the building’s face and getting a cooler abstract effect, Trebbi went on to re-touch the inside/outside ratio. He took out the penny-pinching window frames in preference for single panes, made new apertures to bring the façade up to date and get some light indoors. One window might serve a cramped sitting room, but large openings would be needed to light a room of over one hundred square metres deployed on various levels.
Inside, the whims of building regulation are more flexible so the project could begin to go to town. Floor-by-floor divisions were thrown to the winds to achieve a more organic whole. Trebbi’s skill here was to avoid the common mistake of outsize state-rooms laboriously saved from self-importance by the odd tall cut-through. His winning strategy was the century-old idea of the raumplan, which still seems to work today. Offset and often at different levels, the apartment nuclei unfold out of one another. Interest is gained by sudden see-through glimpses of special spatial effects, though not so as to let the eye comprehend the whole. Layout and sequence were thought through so that as a home it works: from the kitchen one goes up to the dining room which gives onto the sitting room, and close by these is a kind of private gym. The connection between...

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