Francesco Pagliari || Francesco Pagliari
An old military property on the tree-covered hills outside Bologna is the setting for this transformation project. It is focusing on two buildings, one an old structure used as a military guardhouse and the other - a larger and more complex structure - a former underground bunker. Thus far, only the transformation of the old guardhouse has been completed. The design to turn the bunker into a truly charming house is still being worked on, meaning the renovation work has yet to begin, especially as numerous issues need to be resolved, like getting in enough natural light and the internal-external dynamics.
Given the rather unique nature of this structure, it is evident that such issues will be vital in turning the edifice into a place that can be used on a daily basis as a "normal" house. Resolving such issues also means facing unique problems, as simply creating a skylight requires cutting through an exceptionally thick and sturdy roof. The design envisages the use of Corten steel, a material that will clearly play a key role in the internal- external dynamics created in the future by the relations between built sections and between nature and architecture.
The "seeming" simplicity of the old guardhouse structure, a parallelepiped volume with a pitched roof and a central ridge, hides some smart refurbishment decisions based on a "demolition and reconstruct" approach, in which it was mandatory, under current regulations, to maintain the external structure of the existing edifice. The transformation focused on producing a high quality, liveable house through a combination of elegance, attention to architectural detail and the general layout, altering the interior structures while leaving the external "silhouette" untouched.
Lowering the level of the surrounding land effectively added another storey to the house, allowing the edifice to be divided into a basement level for the utilities rooms, a ground floor with plenty of living room and the kitchen, and an upper floor for the bedrooms, at the northern and southern ends. On the ground floor, clarity was ensured in the living areas by arranging the spaces without barriers and moving the stairs into a decentralised position. The relationship between the interior living spaces and the exterior is central to the project, with large windows allowing uninterrupted views.
On three sides, a section of wooden flooring helps mediate the internal-external dynamics, culminating in the large areas on the northern and southern ends. The space to the south is marked by a light metallic structure, while a bench delimits the edge of the northern space. On the west, the walkway has metal grates to allow light into the basement level.
The careful calibration of the elevations is emblematic of the quality of this house, equating to the notion of "liveability" that permeates the new layout. The entrance is marked by a portal with coated steel panels, giving a strong material sense that is picked up by the flat canopy above the door.
A large glazed section is located above the front door, on the upper floor, helping develop the use of materials and the relationship between solids and voids. The walls themselves are part of the architectural design, with coloured reinforced concrete the key, combining "veins" with light hues that emphasise - through their difference - the outside wooden flooring. This double colouring of clear tones helps highlight the coated aluminium doors and windows, which in turn provide dark lines that add to the geometric elegance of the building.
Gross Floor Area: 300 m2
Architects: Antonio Iascone Ingegneri Architetti
Contractor: TER Costruzioni
Strutture: Luca Turrini
Impianti Meccanici: Pool Progetti Studio Associato
Impianti Elettrici: Studio tecnico Associato Proel
Pigmented Reinforced Concrete: Calcestruzzi spa - Italcementi Group
Flooring: Kerakoll Bathroom
Window and Door Frames: Schüco
Roofing: VM Zinc
Photography: © Daniele Domenicali