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"PAT1" Residential Building

The Beauty of Constraints


"PAT1" Residential Building

The twists and turns of history: here I am again, as I did some time ago in other occasions writing about LPzR architetti associati, a Milanese firm to a certain extent unique for combining high-tech performance with the successful delivery of esthetic beauty everywhere it works. And when I say everywhere, I really do mean everywhere: one of the peculiarities of this practice, founded by Gabriele Pranzo-Zaccaria and Federico Reyneri in 2006, is that it creates architecture in locations that, whether in the suburbs or the city center, before their intervention had been overlooked or gone unnoticed.

Gabriele smiles about this when I mention it in our interview. “We get called in all the time to solve strange places, and we act accordingly”, he says.

I first got to know the studio one day in 2007 when, on my way to work in the Milan suburb of Bovisa, I was attracted by a red building that “had not been there” but then “suddenly” was, making a good show of itself and attracting attention from within a courtyard whose gate was ajar. Actually, there is far more to this building – listed in LPzR’s catalog of works as ADR18 – than merely its red color: it is a diminutive yet veritable tale of architecture, a specimen of the practice’s great interest in materials and innovative technology, along with an energy-saving focus that has led to designing all of its buildings to be fully compliant with nZEB standards.

Pranzo-Zaccaria is still joshing when he says: “It is our obsession. On the one hand, it is a challenge to return a focus to scraps of forgotten space, veritable holdovers in contemporary urban history, while on the other, when and wherever we work, we always strive to deliver high-performance design that combines architectural design with energy sustainability”.

He has one final thing to say: “Constraints, yes, it seems we pretty much only work if...

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