Bologna || Italy
When an old craft workshop was pulled down, it left space for a new four-storey apartment block to be built in an urban area dominated by traditional, small blocks of flats. Sustainable quality with suitable installations and facilities is the essence of the new build. The various regulatory and urban planning constraints - especially the distance from the existing buildings and the edge of the plot - combined with key design choices, such as the decision to align the building with the adjacent street-fronting ones, resulted in a unique volume, with a large base (for the ground floor flat) topped by three floors.
The building also ‘tapers’ lightly towards the top, with the effect of this narrower upper section most clearly visible on the north side, where the structure is closed and compact.
The elevation facing east onto the street has a complex combination of surfaces, with a single small balcony and variously sized windows that harmoniously merge with the texture created by the horizontal bands decorating the coated walls. The resultant grooves between bands add definition to the façade that is highlighted by the compact square sections, creating a subtle linking of contrasts and emphasis. Similarly, the west-facing elevation, the rear side, seems to connect all the parts using simple elements.
The upper floors are progressively less wide than the lower ones, with a contrast between the horizontal bands and grooves, and the compact sections. The windows introduce additional diversity into the relationships between the different elements, placed in rows, pairs and individually in combinations of square and rectangular shapes.
The dominant colour is white, in smooth and rough finishes. The same colour is adopted for the aluminium window frames and the metal structures on the western side, where the combination of sunscreens and a pergola form a discreet ground-floor element.
Above this, across the first and second floors on the balconies, rises a grid that becomes a dominant element 'superimposed' on the linear geometry of the façade. To the informed onlooker, the apparent simplicity of the geometry gradually fades away to reveal a very carefully thought-through strategy for separating the various parts and elements, defining architectural structures that mutate constraints into smart solutions.
The building has three living units. The compact ground-floor flat has car and pedestrian access on the northern side. It extends towards the street with a slightly slanted section that allows for the placement of skylights so natural light can flow into the bedrooms.
The flats on the upper floors have a longitudinal layout. The third and fourth floors form a duplex, with the bedrooms on the lower floor and the living room and kitchen on the upper one. The stairwell is a compact block on the side, adjacent to the next building, almost a separate structure, slightly lower than the rest of the edifice, with a single ribbon window.
Architects: Andrea Trebbi
Works Management: Andrea Trebbi
Design Team: Laura Frigerio, Perla Rebecchi, Alessia de Rogatis, Benedetta Casadei
Contractor: Asfalti e Costruzioni
Structural: Fabio Lambertini
Mechanical Systems, Energy Class, Safety: Luca Lorenzini
Electrical Systems: Giuseppe De Luca
Photography: © Andrea Trebbi
Andrea Trebbi Architetto
The firm Andrea Trebbi Architetto opened in Bologna in 1980. It is involved in architecture, planning, interior design, design, and lighting, and is equally involved in restoration and new builds. A primary focus of the firm is to improve the architectural environment by seeing architecture as something external to humans, with our wellbeing depending on its quality. Reflecting this approach is the recognition of surface parking facilities as being incompatible with cities and the necessity of placing urban infrastructure underground.
The studio is involved in a broad spectrum of projects but principally focuses on residential projects, hotels, healthcare facilities, football stadiums, and car park buildings. Reflecting this, it deals with a wide range of public and private clients, including through competitions.
Every project carried out by the firm extends to every aspect, including the design of furniture and other elements. This provides constant opportunities for research aimed at identifying the highest quality levels achievable for every project.