Expressing With Clarity and Strength
What power does colour hold? What dictates your choice of colour palette for each project?
Colours have a double evocative power: they sometimes can faithfully report reality, or they can also completely alter it, suggesting atmospheres and proposals, changing their meaning from descriptive to emotional. Each project dictates our choice of a colour palette: colours express to observers the mood of a design, its heart, the emotions that we think it could generate in people living the new spaces.
Is there any one form of representation you predict over another?
Our favourite forms of representation are the ones that clearly describe the volumetric relationship between solids and voids. Plans, sections and axos grow up simultaneously to control the project in each part, then we choose what better express with clarity and strength our design. We usually prefer drawings in which is possible to give a general overview, and the ones that describe a scene, a situation happening telling about life in the project.
What is your take on the axonometric as the most complete form of drawing?
Architecture is always conceived in its three dimensions: axonometry allows us to study and draw them in the harmonic complexity that they have to compose.
How important and helpful is the diagram as a means to communicate?
Diagrams are fundamental to explain a project: they are a smart way to communicate a concept with directness and simplicity, going straight to the essential on what people have to focus on. From the principles that generated the idea to the different layers of it, from architectural to functional aspects, diagrams help to give an immediate interpretative key to read the project on its different levels.
At a time where gentrification has become a significant issue in the modern city, how crucial is it to look back and renovate rather than eliminate and reconstruct?
Cities are living organisms, constantly changing and evolving. We quote a point from the Charter of Athens (1933 IV CIAM): “36. Unsanitary slums should be demolished and replaced by open space. This would ameliorate the surrounding areas.’ We agree with this concept, sometimes there are buildings or spaces that end their cycle of life, where is not possible to change distributions or functions renovating them because, for example, their maintenance and energy efficiency standards are not economically sustainable. This is not in contrast indeed with a great process of restoration of those buildings that instead still have an important function and exercise their proper role but that need interventions to improve their performances. Some recent and significant instances for us are the transformations implemented by Lacaton &Vassal studio for residential buildings for example in Paris, Bordeaux, Saint-Nazaire.
The Invisible Line
The invisible line is a project dedicated to the memory of the lives lost in the tragedy of the MH17 flight.
Developing a quiet, relaxing island in the city is the aim for our project; a presence lying on the water with silent dignity that remind humanity of the dark day of the 17th of July 2014.
Water is the key of the concept: life comes from water, and in mankind’s history this element has meant pureness, it has symbolized a passage between life and eternity.
With water we have traced ‘the invisible line’, that impalpable boundary that everyday divide life and death, what we know from what we don’t know; on this dualism is based the fragile balance of our world, of our island. The northern part is completely full of vegetation and high trees, a natural shady site that strongly contrast with the open, full of light and ordered space on the southern bank, where different plants are geometrically divided by secondary paths and squares offer social interaction and relaxing zones. They are linked by a walking path and by seven bridges that are like passages in the water: you go down between two corten walls, where the names of the departed are written. These depressions want to suggest an immersion in our minds.
The park in its totality is the result of the interaction of these different ecosystems. The island can be reached on both the short sides by boat or by bike, and again by bike you can have a third perspective: the one from water, riding on the parabolic curve around the site.
In the whole history, everywhere in the world, gardens have always ment discovery: discovery for the eyes, for the hears, for nose and for mouth also sometimes. In a garden you refresh your body and your soul in the nature, you can stay alone or enjoy some company. The space is not delimited by walls, the doors you pass by are the doors of feelings, of rememberings and future plans; peace and balance should be inspired by gardens, places where man and nature meet again in an osmotic relationship. Our proposal is a garden where not only the senses, but also the intellect are stimulated: curiosity is the base of our knowledge, and we think that learning can be more effective in the nature, playing with it. The Pendulum, the Newton’s experiment to demonstrate the theory of energy conservation, let us think about a big installation attracting people with its sounds, its materials and colours: the pendulum spheres, full of elements coming from the surroundings, show the energy you are surrounded by, in a ‘concert’ in which each element is an instrument.
Perpetual lines is the proposal for the renewal of one of the most important squares in Pistoia. This town has got one of the most alive and busy historical city centre in Italy: lots of activities, both touristic and commercial, take place inside the ring of its ancient walls. During the week different open-air markets set themselves on the pedestrian streets and in many squares; this is a situation, a tradition that should go on, but without casting a shadow over historical and aggregative places. The aim of the Perpetual Lines project is to bring back Piazza dello Spirito Santo, one of these fascinating squares, to its originally function: a common space, where people can go and admire historical monuments, take part to different kind of events (like concerts, open air cinema…) or just sharing their spare time. The research had begun from the study of the fluxes in this part of the city and the different accesses to the square. Then the design has been developed by fixing the statue of Niccolò Forteguerri as a cornerstone that defines the churchyard apart from the rest of the area, and choosing a paving that is contemporary and totally different from the bordering ones but that harmonize with them. Another theme was to improve the comfort in the region adding vegetation and water to the project: the square then has been thought like a water mirror in which has been thrown a stone, producing propagation lines along which seats and trees replace slabs of paving. A real water mirror highlight the churchyard, playing also with the church facade reflections. Trees, pyrus calleryana chanticleer, are a deciduous species, therefore there is shadow during summer and the sun can warm up the site in winter. Lighting also plays an important role: all the seats has got a led stripe around them, and all the perimeter buildings facades are lighten by spotlights that underline their historical and artistic value. The plot in this way is well-lighted, so that it is safe also in the night, maintaining its romantic charme.
The Massoero is an historical building in Genoa, facing to the ancient harbour. Smothered by the surrounding buildings, it needed a renovation in the overview of a general urban redevelopment.
The logic of the design was subtraction of volumes: this reaches its climax in the central stairway, that is collocated not inside, not ouside, but in the third dimension of the building. Also the function changed from an hospice to a library with a green area.
Reflections is a project for Porto’s river, Rio Douro. The concept is based on the principle of extending the city to the river, creating an organic connection to the water level. The skyline’s reflections design a public space that pretends to be more that a reflexion of the city’s essence more than a mere extension of the Ribeira public riverfront; a new and dynamic public space capable of attracting tourists and citizens creating by itself a new urban focus.
The design format of this space is based on on a natural river cove, with an inlet that allows the entrance of the river water, thus protecting the swimming pool of river currents. The proposal integrates a connection shaped by the skyline based platforms that progressively descend into the water level, finally arriving to a set of staircases, that allows the public to arrive into the river.
The pool is located in the farthest side of the competition area in relation to the bridge, this position in addition of being away of the projected shadow, also allows a better panoramic view of Luiz I Bridge.
The playground is located in a safe and protected area in one of the terraces next to the Gustavo Eiffel Avenue, and it is shaped like the Rabelo, traditional Douro boat.
The Pier is located in the south-west part of the area and connects directly with the bar, while the restaurant is located at the north-east of the area, next to the swimming pool and its restrooms.
The project wants to recreate an osmotic relation between the city and the river, between the 10 mt. high level and the water level respecting the urban reality and its different layers, designing a public space lying on the coast that is everywhere accessible for everybody.