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Two Residential Complexes

5+1AA Alfonso Femia Gianluca Peluffo

Two Residential Complexes
By Francesco Pagliari -
Duravit, Eclisse, Velux, Rubner Holzbau, Rubner Objektbau have participated in the project

The northern Italian city of Brescia near the foothills of the Alps has recently acquired two new, very different, residential estates: one a private complex; the other a public housing estate with 72 social and moderate rental dwelling units. Different too is the way the two new quarters interact with the city. Located to the west of Brescia’s old city centre, the private complex – named “Life” – stands in a hinge zone of former industrial brownfield sites just outside the old city walls between Brescia’s densely compact city centre and a more recent, still sparsely urbanized outlying area. The area enjoys all the advantages of being part of a long-standing urban fabric but at the same time is close to the parks and green areas in the immediate periphery. The public housing estate lies to the southeast of the city in a landscape characterised by major highway infrastructure, pockets of unoccupied land and a large mid-20th century popular residential neighbourhood nearby of high-rise tower blocks and low-rise row houses. As everywhere in Brescia, Mount Maddalena stands as a backdrop to this new public housing project.
What the two housing neighbourhoods do have in common, albeit using different means, is a manifest determination to create an ensemble of buildings held together by a well-defined architectural programme. Much thought has gone into how to relate the single units and the new complex as a whole to the existing built fabric and surrounding landscape yet at the same time create a recognizable architectural ensemble that can stand as another component of the urban fabric. The two quarters are a demonstration of how architecture can be harnessed to create quality urban systems at the individual, neighbourhood and community scale.
The “Life” complex sets out to make a strong architectural statement. Blocks of 4-storey buildings are arranged to form an open web of streets and houses around a large,...

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