“Despite the economic crisis, I would increase the space for retail and insert two rooms in the house standing above. I have no further recommendation to provide: I'd like an extension entirely clad in stone". Few, concise and clear, but especially useful words told us by a customer.
They have somehow influenced us; the project could have no longer been the linear continuation of the existing building (plaster-coated), but it had to be something else. The expansion should have to be realized with Luserna stone, a material that we have already used many years ago, when we had very little experience and we had to cover the pillars and pavements of the old building.
Today stone is a noble material. It links the construction to the territory, gives solidity to the buildings, imposes a compositional and constructive know-how, retains the patina of time, and recalls recent and old memories (Porta Regia at the sanctuary of Oropa or the mountain huts in the Valley of Elvo, the jugged lighthouse tower in Prarostino or the rough walls of the thermal baths of Vals).
Many contemporary architects place before the stone other materials that are brighter, more ductile, ephemeral, transparent and often more expensive. To our luck, we have to say, that the words of our customer have helped us a lot. Would it be better to have something "modern" or "traditional", "porous" or "embossed"?
The Luserna stone has become a coating material: it is used in slabs of varying height and length, with a bevel only for the horizontal joint. The extension is set to the west of the existing building and covers in plant a perimeter of 4 meters and 20 centimeters (a span of the old building) and a width of 10 meters and 50 centimeters. It is slightly "stretched" at the top to keep the distance of 10 meters with the existing building. On the ground floor there is the continuation of the bag shop, on the first floor a new bedroom and a small private gym, on the second floor a new terrace from which you can enjoy the view over the mount Mucrone westward and the mount Bielmonte northwards. The design choice was to face with the cross section of the existing building and the truss in order to resume its shapes or rather its figure.
Location: Biella, Italy Client: G B Architects: Piva&b (Cesare Piva e Paolo Piva) Collaborators: Emilio Cimma, Chiara Ferrando and Marco Di Perna Completion: 2008 - 2011 Contractor: M.R. Abitare - Vigliano biellese (BI) Gross Floor Area: 164 mq Structural: Valeria Zucconelli Technical Systems: Piero Ramella Bon Photography: © Stefano Topuntoli
Ground floor plan
First floor plan