Villa D'Adda || Italy
The Torre del Borgo building is a historical highlight in Villa d'Adda, a summation of the town's complex history expressed through symbolism - it is a medieval fortress and a place where factions opposed each other in conflict - and materials - the superbly built medieval walls.
The origins of this revamp can be traced back to 2005 when the local administration had various goals in mind, especially regenerating a degraded urban space to turn it into a multi-purpose community centre, museum, archive, cultural venue and general purpose space.
The design thus had to work on all these different levels. The restoration side focused on repairing the ageing main tower (and the slightly lower one next to it), which necessitated quite a bit of consolidation and regeneration work. The architectural goal was to combine the historical side with the potential of the spaces and materials in an interpretation of the building, as a whole, that draws out its quality and creates spaces with a strong sense of identity. As such, the design focused on highlighting the elements that constitute the building, especially the connections between the spaces, and on presenting meaningful suggestions on how to use the spaces. The work was divided into two stages.
The first one was entirely dedicated to the main tower and the adjoining building, while the second concerned the smaller tower, with four rooms in addition to some spaces in the main tower, the utilities room and lift.The use of space and vertical connections between spaces are at the heart of this project, providing smooth continuity and highlighting the great potential for using the areas located on the different levels. There is a balance, for the spaces, between connection and independence, a balance that is reflected in the activities.
Access to the complex is via a room on the ground floor in the main tower that is almost an extension of the public piazza outside, but more protected and impressive.
The height and the ceiling add considerable architectural quality, forming an ideal space for multi-purpose activities and for the community as a whole. The internal route through the building is centred on the vertical elements and horizontal connections.
The newly constructed side building to the east of the main structure is an essential addition to create a single route through the complex that is, in a sense, an "exploration" of spaces in which the vertical elements play key roles. The new building has three above-ground levels. The imprint has a definite contemporary feel, with its overlay of geometrically rigid yet attractive shapes. Glazing offers glimpses of the outside and there is a definite 'dialogue' between the materials, which contrast sharply with the wall of the main tower. The way up to the tower starts from the side, from the light adjacent body.
It is connected to a walkway and leads to the mezzanine level of the tower, from which the upper floors can be accessed. The stairs, with a steel framework and parapet, are clearly a central element. They define the space, attracting the glaze like a dense, material sculpture that dominates the setting, breaking it up while also creating a sense of continuity within the tower.
Location: Villa d’Adda, Bergamo
Client: Comune di Villa d’Adda
Gross Floor Area: 300 m2
Cost of Construction: 900.000 Euros
Architects: CN10 Architetti
Works Management: Gianluca Gelmini
Structural: Lorenzo Jurina
Mechanical Systems: Livio Mazzola
Electrical Systems: Alfredo Ravasio
Doors and Windows: Sideros Acciaio
Photography: © Gianluca Gelmini
CN10 architetti was established in 2004 by Gianluca Gelmini. The firm works in the areas of architectural design and the restoration of heritage architecture, undertaking projects on various scales. It has participated in national and international competitions and won prizes and awards.
The practice has carried out numerous public and private commissions. Some of the most important of these include the restoration of the churches of Saint George and Saint Giuliano in Bonate Sotto (Bergamo), the restoration of the Botta di Sotto il Monte church and the restoration of Palazzo Furietti Carrara in Presezzo (Bergamo), the extension of the oratory and the restoration of the pastoral centre in Carvico (Bergamo), and the restoration of the Scuola di Miniera in Novafeltria (Rimini).
Gianluca Gelmini (born 1967 in Bergamo) graduated from Politecnico di Milano in 1996. In 1999, he was awarded a scholarship to complete his PhD in Architectural Composition at the IUAV in Venice. In 2005, he completed a specialization in monument restoration at Politecnico di Milano.
Gelmini’s research and architectural work in both the academic and professional fields have earned him awards and recognition, including mentions in the 2001 ASSIRCCO Giovani prize and the 2004 Luigi e Sandro Angelini international award for work completed as part of his PhD. He has taught at Politecnico di Milano, Università di Parma’s faculty of architecture, and Accademia di Architettura in Mendrisio. He has been registered with the Bergamo Order of Architects since 1996.
Andrea Pressiani (born 1987 in Ponte San Pietro) graduated from Politecnico di Milano in 2014 in the Preservation and Restoration of Architectural Heritage. He has worked with CN10 architetti since 2010.