THE OPEN BLOCK-HOUSE

International Competition Project
Europan 12
Nürnberg (DE)
2013.06
The replacement of a former closed housing block  with a new opened block realizes a brand new urban space for the city. The outstanding open block offers the opportunity to give to the housing building a new civic role for the entire neighborhood: the compactness and the clearness of the volume highlights its presence, while its openings and passages inside let the citizens live the ground floor and the courtyard for collective activities.

 


Team: Arch. Andrea De Matteis
Consulenti: Arch. Carolina Medici, Arch. Veronica Mirarchi, Alexander Thomas, Johann Wundrich
Collaboratori: Arch. Roberta Rinaldi, Eugenio Laponte

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INTRO

The challenge of the project is to envision a new block, able to act as a central and recognizable key presence for the entire neighborhood and to maintain, at the same time, an high level of comfort for the inhabitants: a new place to live where residential units and collective spaces coexist in a new urban experiment between collectivity and private life.
The aim of the project is to preserve the existing amount of residential spaces and to improve the area for collective activities at the same time.
The project declines a dense housing block as an hybrid urban block, devoted both to residential and public facilities. The main goal is to redefine collectivity and privateness in a experimental new idea of block, in order to provide density and obtain intensity in urban life at the same time.

 

- Axonometric view

FOCUS

Designing a new block is an opportunity to maintain the typical atmosphere of the neighborhood. Realizing a new permeable block is a chance to evolve it into a new hybrid condition, between private residential spaces and public facilities and services.
The domesticity of the existing building, appearing from the series of small entrances and from the extraordinary allotments present in the courtyard, defines a specific characteristic which we want to start from, pushing it forward to a new status. We are interested in promoting site specific living conditions, starting from some seeds found in the sites and considering them relevant for new possible organization of the urban environment.

 

- View towards the new Corner Square form Sperberstrasse

DATA

Existing buildings

Covered area: 2.580 sqm
Gross floor area: 7.170 sqm
Number of units: 111

New Block

Covered area: 2.040 sqm
Gross floor area: 7.200 sqm
Number of units: 83
-five-room units: 1 duplex
-four-room units: 16
-three-room units: 39
-two-room units: 20
-one-room units: 7

Privately financed dwellings: 31 units
Subsidized dwellings: 30 units
Owner-occupied dwellings: 22 units

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REPORT

The definition of the block

The compact block appears to be the most useful model of urbanism as a prominent solution in the neighborhood.

The block seems to be the more powerful solution to work with, in order to preserve the continuity of the urban landscape and to maintain an idea of domesticity. The block, with its internal courtyard, offers also the occasion to work with a complex idea of two spheres of influence working together: the private one for the dwellings and the more public one that can be accommodated in the courtyard.

The existing building to be replaced is made of a sequence of units defining a continuous block along the streets. Following the site it assumes a trapezoidal irregular shape. In order to highlight the presence of the new Block in the neighborhood, also as a place for collective activities, it acquires a regular, recognizable, rectangular shape. To fit in in the trapezoidal plot the new Block is broken: a wide view is opened towards the internal courtyard.

The compact shape of the new building brought to open a new public area on the west side of the plot. The new square together with the opened courtyard accommodate services to increase the range of public activities.

- Diagram of the definition of the Block

 

- The Block in the neighborhood

 

The new Block, with its clear, regular, rectangular shape, plays a key role for the collective life in the neighborhood. The several collective facilities at the ground floor of the building and the opened courtyard try to force the building to change its nature, from a simple residential use to become a sort of new collective platform for social life. The Block can become a new civic centre, a sort of public arena for the local community improving the opportunities for interaction and public life.

- The emerging places for collective life in the neighborhood


- Site plan

The front of the Block along the main north-south street

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The articulation of the Block

- The generation of the Block and its articulation

The challenge in the competition to work on density as an issue offers the occasion to define it following the opportunities emerging from the site itself: on one hand, according to the local densities of the neighborhood, on the other, coherently with the typology of the block chosen. The new Block is designed to preserve the continuity of the scale of the district and, at the same time, provide a right density of dwellings.

_ The general framework

The existing building on the site is a continuous sequence of similar modules with a basement: two main residential levels and one more floor emerging in the roof. The new Block provides three storeys above the basement: it acquires one storey more, to set the height similar to the surrounding residential collective buildings.

In order to maintain the idea of compactness, each side of the new Block has a single pitched roof that fortifies the idea of the courtyard as part of it. The longer inclined single roof allows an improvement of height in the internal facades preserving smaller proportion outside. In this way, the local scale is preserved from the outside but, at the same time, a more impressive urban scale is produced inside with a more relevant height of the fronts.

A complete new atmosphere is realized: a vivid new urban life can be produced in the courtyard. The facades themselves reflect this issue: outside a thick wall realizes a continuous heavy shelter of the block, while the internal fronts are translucent and opened, giving a more light atmosphere.

_ The ground floor

The existing residential block offers a a sequence of entrances to the stairs directly from the streets around. Along the external continuous fronts the series of doors highlights the domesticity of the entrances. Besides, the courtyard is a little bit lower than the level of the streets and the basement has a direct relation with it through windows and stairs.

The new Block develops those conditions: the basement emerges from the ground and, through a light depression of the new courtyard, it acquires a direct connection with it. Thus it assumes a strong relevance as the place for collective activities and public facilities. The emerging basement becomes a sort of lively edge between the city and the vivid public atmosphere inside the courtyard. It accommodates many accesses to the new Block: interruptions and voids create multiple passages both to the residential units and the collective facilities. Furthermor, it accommodates ramps, stairs, patios to solve the passages and to enrich the experience of it. It behaves like an opened fold, where the signs of what is happening inside are lightly appearing.

_ Living in nature

The allotments accommodated in the courtyard of the existing building show extraordinary conditions: full of trees and vegetations, the inhabitants use them as places to develop their own personal interests – from cultivation and gardening to Do It Yourself activities, meeting or watching television directly immersed in a lively nature. This issue is considered crucial in designing the new Block, in order to enhance the quality of life of the inhabitants.

At first, the project provides a continuous trees plantation covering the whole site. That strong presence of green is brought also into the building: a serie of voids opens collective spaces in the building where the inhabitants can collect and sharing vegetation. The internal facade is also equipped with an expanded metal mesh that allows the vegetation to grow on from the apartments.

Then, in order to preserve the freedom of developing the wide variety of personal interests the inhabitants may have, the Block accepts a series of new volumes, as small suspended boxes, attached to the internal facades. They work as ‘special’ rooms: directly added to the living rooms, they offer extra space for personal uses. The same boxes are placed in the courtyard where they accommodate the facilities and collective activities opened to the neighborhood.

- View of the opened courtyard

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The Block layout

The Block is divided in several modules each one with its own vertical connection. In the east and west sides are grouped the Privately Financed and Subsidized dwellings; in the north and south sides are accommodated the Owner-occupied ones. Each vertical connection, stairs and elevator, brings to two apartments, sometimes pas- sing through collective loggias. The south side of the Block is the only one changing the collective distribution: the Owner occupied dwellings here, mainly duplex apartments, are reached with a common corridor linked to two vertical connections at the sides.

- The dwellings layout

- The typology supply for Subsidized, Privately financed and Owner-occupied dwellings

Each apartment occupies an entire section of the block: the rooms for daily life, kitchen and living room, are oriented to the public courtyard and have always two big openings – balcony, loggia or terrace – and a vertical window; on the other hand, the bedrooms are collected toward the external fronts and have big squared windows or loggias. The openings on both sides of the building allow cross ventilation. Following the previous lines, the dwellings acquire different modulation according to the orientation: the ones facing east and west have the same layout; quite similar is the one on north while the south one is different. Starting from the east and west side 9,6 m wide, the south side becomes narrower – 7 m – while the north one is the widest, arriving to an extent of 12 m.

The north side of the building benefits of the south orientation for the kitchens and living rooms; the thickness of the building is increased to accommodate a continuous loggia towards the street, in correspondence to the bedrooms, to improve the quality of the internal space and to add a buffer zone to the building in order to reduce the heat dispersion towards north. The dwellings in the south side of the building are the only differently organized: they are longitudinally oriented fitting the reduced width of this side of the Block. All the rooms here face both the courtyard and the street in the back. The common corridor, physically hanged on the internal facade of the building brings to the entrances of the apartments. They are mainly duplex with the kitchen and the living room at the entrance level while the bedrooms are located at the other level. Towards south they acquire a continuous loggia on which all the windows are opened, even in the duplex apartments where the loggias are double height.

 

- Ground floor plan

- Typical floor plan

The simplicity the external fronts are juxtaposed to the internal urban variety. On one hand the thick wall covering outside the volume accepts spotted windows for the apartments rooms. They are grouped in light irregular way, moving around a center of attraction, maintaining a sort of “vibrant” simplicity. At the opposite, the series of boxes mutually overlooking one to the other from the internal facades down to the courtyard offers a richer urban landscape.

- West front

- South and part of the East front

- The remaining East front and North front


- Longitudinal section


- Cross section

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MONOLITH

International Competition Project
YAC – Young Architects Competitions
Roccascalegna, Chieti (IT)
2017.07
The project for an Observatory House for tourists on the hillside of Roccascalegna, focuses on the potential of a new interior landscape and a gorgeous experience of observing the sky. A series of monoliths appears on the side of the hill, as ancestral symbols of connection with the cosmos. The spaces of the houses are all buried into the ground; the vertical volume of the monolith appears on top as an alien object landed on the hill.

 

UNA NUOVA URBANITA’ RURALE

Competition Project
MHS Spa
Paderno Dugnano, Milano (IT)
2013.11
Il progetto propone una nuova urbanità rurale nell’area ex-Breter. Viene proposto un nuovo modello insediativo di case basse, dense e minute, aggregate a isole, che gravitano attorno ad uno spazio aperto pubblico completamente permeabile e orientato alla produzione agricola. Oggetto di interesse è un nuovo equilibrio tra urbanità e ruralità, una nuova ecologia urbana.

 

URBAN DESIGN MEETINGS – LECTURES

International Seminar
Politecnico di Milano
Milano (IT)
2013.10 
The Meetings are born for the Urban Design Course in the Master of Science in Urban Planning and Policy Design at the Politecnico di Milano - School of Architecture and Society, and organized by Andrea De Matteis. In the Meetings are collected: Case Studies, Lectures, Forums, Focus, Workshops.
In this appointment the office Arup with the architect Stefano Recalcati will give a LECTURE about “Sustainable masterplanning in the new emerging countries”.

THE OPEN BLOCK-HOUSE

International Competition Project
Europan 12
Nürnberg (DE)
2013.06
The replacement of a former closed housing block  with a new opened block realizes a brand new urban space for the city. The outstanding open block offers the opportunity to give to the housing building a new civic role for the entire neighborhood: the compactness and the clearness of the volume highlights its presence, while its openings and passages inside let the citizens live the ground floor and the courtyard for collective activities.

 

URBAN DESIGN MEETINGS – FOCUS

International Seminar
Politecnico di Milano
Milano (IT)
2013.06 
The Meetings are born for the Urban Design Course in the Master of Science in Urban Planning and Policy Design at the Politecnico di Milano - School of Architecture and Society, and organized by Andrea De Matteis. In the Meetings are collected: Case Studies, Lectures, Forums, Focus, Workshops.
In this second Meeting, Francesca Tatarella and the milanese landscape office Atelier delle Verdure will FOCUS on “The design of the open spaces in the contemporary city “.

URBAN DESIGN MEETINGS – CASE STUDIES

International Seminar
Politecnico di Milano
Milano (IT)
2012.12
The Meetings are born for the Urban Design Course in the Master of Science in Urban Planning and Policy Design at the Politecnico di Milano - School of Architecture and Society, and organized by Andrea De Matteis. In the Meetings are collected: Case Studies, Lectures, Forums, Focus, Workshops.
In this first Meeting on a CASE STUDY, the architect Massimo Bertolano (Erick van Egeraat former associate) will present the Milanofiori project.

NEW HIGHTECH CAMPUS

Competition project
Confindustria di Bergamo
Albino, Bergamo (IT)
2012.08
Oggi la riqualificazione dell’area di Albino può proporre un elemento in più. Se da una parte le logiche dello sviluppo immobiliare sono tema imprescindibile per la fattibilità economico-finanziaria di trasformazioni così ampie e complesse, come lo è del resto la riqualificazione ambientale di contesti fisici così eccezionali, dall’altra parte elemento determinante per la riqualificazione dell’area di Albino è la strategia di riuso industriale.

LA CITTADELLA DEL COMMIATO

Competition Project
Comune di Ferrara
Ferrara (IT)
2012.05
L’ampliamento della Cittadella del Commiato con l’inserimento della nuova sede obitoriale comunale permetterà di consolidare i servizi di onoranze funebri offerti ai cittadini e qualificherà uno dei recinti storici della città preservandone il carattere originario. Il Nuovo Obitorio Comunale potrà esserne il fulcro e al suo interno un nuovo recinto ne diverrà il cuore: la Camera Ardente si raccoglierà attorno ad un chiostro dove si celebrerà il commiato.

 

ECOSISTEMI DOMESTICI

Competition Project
Comune di Cesena
Cesena (IT)
2012.01
La via Emilia è oggi il tipico paesaggio urbano della strada di grande percorrenza. Riconvertire la strada ad un traffico locale offre l’opportunità di fare leva sulle condizioni di vita sociale e collettiva già presenti per ampliare all’intera sezione stradale e al suo intero sviluppo lineare quei caratteri di paesaggio urbano familiare e civico presente in numerosi episodi lungo la strada.

CASA PER ANZIANI IN DUE BLOCCHI

Competition Project
Comune di Castelleone
Castelleone, Cremona (IT)
2011.09
Una casa per anziani di 8 alloggi si inserisce in un quartiere di altre comunita’ per anziani ai margini di una cittadina della pianura padana. Affacciato verso un piccolo corso d’acqua il nuovo edificio lavora sugli spazi intermedi costruendo nuove relazioni tra spazi privati e spazi collettivi e tra spazi aperti e spazi interni.

 

 

SPEISINGER CIVIC HUB

International Competition Project
Europan 11
Vienna (AT)
2011.06
A new civic center will be created around a new stop of the S-Bahn railway line. A main linear building defines the central public area and a series of public passages, ramps, pathways, sport facilities, greenhouses and community gardens create a collective field of cooperation between the three different sites involved in the redevelopment.

FAKE VENICE

International Competition Manifesto
Venice City Vision
Venice (IT)
2011.06
Fakeness is today an highly diffused procedure to re-invent things, re-creating them better then before in new phantom images. And that is Fake Venice: a place in which some conditions never realized before are forced to develop in the city.
Fake Venice is a reflection on fakeness and the future of a city. It reflects on the “potential being”: it focuses on one of the potential Venice that have not been realized.

E10 EUROPEAN FORUM OF RESULTS

Competition Closing Event
Europan Europe
Neuchatel (CH)
2010.05
The Forum of the 10th session of the european competition Europan took place in the University of Neuchatel. The Forum began with the Swiss Awards Ceremony: the office has been awarded of the II Prize for the project THE 4TH ECO-SYSTEM. Afterwards, some working groups have been organised around specific topics to discuss with the local administration representatives the relevance of the winning ideas.

THE 4TH ECOSYSTEM

International Competition Project
Europan 10
Nyon (CH)
2009.06
Les Plantaz site presents extraordinary conditions to experiment new way of organizing the urban fabric working on the interaction between nature and the city. Ecological reasons may join urbanism. The opportunity of working with three existing ecosystems of spontaneous vegetation offers an exceptional event to improve natural environment and to foster sustainable urban development.

ECOSCAPES

Competition Project
Comune di Cavriglia
Cavriglia, Arezzo (IT)
2009.06
Ecoscape propone un’idea nuova di parco declinando insieme ecologia, leisure ed energia. Il tentativo è quello di immettere nel sistema dei flussi turistici che investe la Toscana un elemento nuovo, al momento estraneo e non presente nella gamma di offerta. L’obiettivo è duplice: riqualificare in chiave ecologico – naturalistica un’area di sfruttamento minerario ed immettere Cavriglia nella rete di relazioni globali legate al turismo.

 

THE 4TH ECOLOGY

International Competition Project
Europan 10
Dessau (DE)
2009.06
The 4th ecology is a programmatic strategy for the city of Dessau, developed inside the three existing ecologies and proposing a pragmatic alternative to the complete replacement of the abandoned urban clusters. It proposes punctual reforms for core and border areas by adopting parasites, incision and infilling operation. It intensifies the spatial relation between the streets, the buildings and the internal courts.

PULVISCOLI

Competition Project
Comune di Teramo
Teramo (IT)
2008.06
Il progetto per il nuovo sistema di spazi pubblici del centro storico di Teramo si propone come un piccolo manifesto per l’incoraggiamento della vita collettiva in città. Si tratta di costruire dentro al sistema di relazioni preesistenti una serie di dispositivi fisici che incentivino la socialità e contribuiscano a rinnovare una dimensione collettiva attorno ad alcune sue condizioni rilevanti – scienza, natura, cultura.

E9 NORWAY PRIZE CEREMONY

Competition Closing Event
Europan Norway
 Oslo (NO)
2008.01
In the DOGA, the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture in Oslo, it took place the Prize Ceremony of the winning projects for the norwegian sites of Europan 9. In the Ceremony the office has been awarded of the Honorable Mention for the project LAB-CITY. During the meeting we presented the project and we discussed it with the other teams and the local representatives.

LAB-CITY

International Competition Project
Europan 9
Lillestrøm (NO)
2007.06
The project for a public space in the civic centre of Lillestrøm is a concrete solution to a local problem – the need for a recognizable meeting place – and, at the same time, it works as a small manifesto: the Stortorvet Square is intended as an environmental public deck populated by many dispositifs able to react with the local conditions at the environmental, economical, urban and social levels.

5 CASE UNIFAMILIARI AD ALTA DENSITA’

Competition Project
ATER Matera
Matera (IT)
2006.02
Cinque nuovi piccoli edifici si inseriscono nella serie di nuovi brani edificati che nel tempo si sono realizzate sull’impianto iniziale del Borgo La Martella. Rispetto alle recenti espansioni di case a schiera il progetto propone una sequenza di piccole case unifamiliari isolate ma affiancate. Con un ritmo serrato i blocchi cercano di declinare la condizione sub-urbana del villaggio verso un’atmosfera più urbana.

BLOCCO RESIDENZIALE COMPATTO

Competition Project
Società Etruria Immobili srl
Grosseto (IT)
2005.09
In un quartiere misto produttivo/residenziale un nuovo blocco abitativo sostituisce un capannone industriale. Il progetto propone un modello ibrido: definisce una massa compatta e una scala complessiva dell’edificio simile ai blocchi industriali ma garantisce una elevata qualità abitativa grazie ai patii e all’articolato sistema di distribuzione. Immesso in un quartiere misto il nuovo edifico cerca in sé stesso affacci e spazi collettivi di socialità.