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Urban Lake Housing

C+S Associati

Ancient Wisdom, Rather Cosmic
So-shu dreamed,
And having dreamed that he was a bird, a bee and a butterfly,
He was uncertain why he should try to feel like anything else,
Hence his contentment.
Ezra Pound, 1915

The urban revitalisation project for a former Enel electricity plant at Largo San Giorgio in Pordenone northeast Italy, aimed to return a green space to the city, connect two areas on different levels and use a walkway to create a unified whole of a park, small lake and the square in front of the church of San Giorgio. Its counterpart, an architectural project for the adjacent parish residential units and community buildings focused on blending architecture with its surrounds.
Clad in the same Piasentina stone as the public square, the buildings are an integral part of the urban landscape. A water drain in Istrian stone in the centre of the piazza forms a track for the metal security grating enclosing them at night. They stand as silent protagonists of two contrasting ground surfaces: the stone surface of Piazza San Giorgio, and the fluid surface of the pond. At the water’s edge, built volumes conform to the shape of the pond. Their large wood-framed windows take the natural landscape indoors and reflect it in the wide expanse of glazing, which in turn reflects it once more onto the water.
The constructions rise in height with the increasing gradient of the paved path up to a first level and weir on the way to the pond, all once a part of the former electricity generating system. Here the path narrows only to widen out again slightly at the entrances to the parish residential buildings. At this point the material changes too. Everything becomes wood: after the stone benches in front of the buildings, a boardwalk along the water’s edge extends to form jetties out into the pond before moving on towards a narrow bridge supported by inclined metal pillars. Like the reflections on water and glass, here too aqueous...

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