Day Centre for the Disabled | The Plan
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Day Centre for the Disabled

Archea Associati

The Day Centre for the Disabled at Seregno, in Lombardy, Italy, combines architectural expressiveness and functional practicality. Form, materials and spatial distribution fuse to create an eminently readable building. Rectangular in plan, the volume comprises a basement car park and section for plant and equipment, and a ground level containing all the Centre’s patient-care facilities. A corridor runs through the building from the entrance, dividing the Centre into two zones. The north side is given over to services and activities for the disabled - motor and manual skills rehabilitation, recreation and socialization. An internal atrium surrounded by offices and meeting rooms gives access to a longitudinal corridor leading to more environments catering for further specialist activities: a gym, laboratories, psychomotor rehabilitation room, kitchen with adjacent dining area, and doctor’s surgery. A small glazed inner court marks the centre of the building. The other (southern) section created by the through corridor from the entrance is reserved for semi-residential patients and contains offices, bedrooms, bathrooms and a communal kitchen-living room.
The building is designed to relate to its natural surrounds in a variety of ways. Extensive full-height glazing along three sides gives views onto the outside and ensures luminous interiors. The broad roof overhang shields from excessive direct sunlight and creates a covered portico, extending the interior onto the outside. The east elevation, also a transparent frontage, overlooks a tree planted area, a sort of park where areas of vegetation and lawns are interspersed with broad stretches of smoothed, wheelchair-friendly concrete.
Designed as a protective yet open shell, the architecture conveys an articulated statement. The sinuous building envelope - a reinforced concrete floor slab that folds back to become the roof - speaks of continuity but also of ambivalence. Although folding back on...

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