This building lies on Viale Monte Grappa, near the historical Porta Garibaldi district and a newly regenerated section of the city. It has shops on the ground floor, 25 variously sized living units centred on a courtyard (including duplexes and triplexes) and two floors of basement parking, plus a car lift with access directly from Viale Monte Grappa.
Local building regulations meant it was necessary for the building to be the same height as the adjacent 19th-century buildings. Yet, the old building was in such a state of decline it was pulled down and rebuilt from scratch, leading to a number of key design decisions.
The composition of the street-facing façade was central to the design, ensuring harmonious interaction with the adjacent buildings that form the continuous street front. At the same time, creating high quality living units was essential, while differentiating the sections of the complex overlooking the inner courtyard.
The design could be seen as seeking diversity expressed in different forms. For example, the street-facing side has a courtly composition, while careful diversification is inherent in the courtyard-facing elevations, where different cladding materials have been used (the lower sections have multilayer wood; the upper floors, Bedonia grey stone slabs).
Diversification can also be seen in various elements used for the internal sections of the complex: the vertical sunscreens made with painted steel; the transparent glass balustrade; the folding wooden shutters; the balconies and overhangs that add character to the complex; and the central wood-paved area with two asymmetrical "occuli" bordered by bushes. Two trees rise up from the ground floor through the gaps created by the latter, visually connecting to the plants that decorate the courtyard and terraces. The courtyard becomes like a summary of urban diversity. The different architectural elements, organised in sections, combine perfectly to create a coherent whole where the contemporary new structure replaces the traditional one, producing a building with high-end, clearly diverse living units.
As the main façade has to comply with strict constraints on height and it was important for compositional unity to maintain the alignment with the adjacent façades and the separation into sections, the design went for simplicity in reinterpreting the elements that make up the street-facing elevation. As such, it is divided into three sections. The lower one maintains a traditional look, with cement ashlar, the lights of the shop windows, and the central pedestrian access that partially reveals the courtyard through the entrance corridor (the car access was created to be very similar to a shop window). The plastered middle section provides continuity, yet conveys a modern vision through a process of geometric abstraction.
The top section is completely reinterpreted as the fifth and sixth floors are recessed from the rest of the elevation, adding a sense of depth. A sizeable stone frame defines the double glazing wall, creating a unique feature. This architectural re-interpretation uses simplification and abstraction to achieve sheer elegance.
Client: Monte Grappa
Gross Floor Area: 5173 m2
Architects: Westway Architects
Works Management: Progetti & Strutture
Contractor: Italiana Costruzioni
Structural: Progetti & Strutture
Technical Systems: Ai Group
Titanium Zinc Cladding: VMZinc
Wood Cladding: Prodema
Interior Stairs: Fontanot
Wood Flooring: Listone Giordano
Lighting: Erco Illuminazione, Simes
Photography: © Moreno Maggi
Established by Luca Aureggi and Maurizio Condoluci, Westway Architects is involved in architectural design projects on different scales, ranging from building to interior design. The firm works in the residential, industrial, commercial, and business sectors, producing designs with a contemporary emphasis for homes, offices, shops, conference rooms, and exhibition stands. It handles every stage and every aspect itself, from concept to detail, from financial planning to construction site management.
The distinctive look of Westway Architects’ designs stems from an analysis of the rationale behind every project through a process based on integrating different disciplines, the relationship with setting, interpreting the needs of the client, respect for the historic context, the use of materials and technologies to enhance the design, and the creation of solutions in which form and structure meld. And it achieves all this while working to budget constraints. Projects for important clients in both Italy and the United States have given the practice’s designs that distinctively Anglo-American edge reflected in the firm’s name. Adopting an integrated design approach ensures the effective management of every element of a project along with the best possible formal and construction outcomes.
Some of the firm's most representative designs include the “Elettronici” building for the Ferrari plant in Maranello, the offices of law firm Pedersoli e Associati in Milan, the Festa del Cinema offices in Rome, the Cementir Holding headquarters in Rome , the Caltagirone conference room and Castroni retail outlet in Rome, the new Viale Monte Grappa residential complex in Milan, and the restyling of the Cantina Santa Margherita head office in Fossalta di Portogruaro (Venice), for which it also designed its stand at the Vinitaly exhibition.