Exploiting The Medium
Marco Lagamba, Leonardo Ramondetti, Cinzia Stella, Chiara Viano
The project “Capanna Lepina” was developed for the competition “Carpineto Mountain Refuge” promoted in 2015 by the online platform Archistart.
The competition required to design a contemporary hut able to enhance the landscape value of Lepine Mountains (Italian Apennines Valleys). This structure had to be consider as a “refuge prototype” that could be place along the main mountain paths in order to promote hiking tourism.
According to the brief the building had to cover a maximum area of twenty square meters and it could be no more than five meters higher. The hut should host this main facilities: four beds, a kitchen, a toilet/dressing room and a relax area. The building had to be removable and sustainable both in the choice of materials and in the use of energy systems that had to be integrated in the architectural composition.
Starting from these points the proposal, that qualified as a finalist, is based on a reinterpretation of the traditional mountain hut morphology. The building is a balloon frame structure made of local chestnut wood which is insulated using sheep’s wool panels. Externally cedar laths burned using the Japanese Shou Sugi–Ban technique create a waterproof membrane that protected the building. These elements are supported by a steel base. As the competition brief required all these structure could be easily removed and recycled.
The entrance is an angular glass door that could be totally open allowing a visual and physical contact with the surrounding nature. The ground level is a composed by the relax area, that host also the kitchen, a toilet and a dress room. Using a thin metal stair it is possible to reach the dorm room on the upper level and also the top of the building that could be used as observatory in order to look the surrounding landscape.
A rainwater tank and a waste-water tank as been integrated into the base and two small solar panel has been proposed on the top of the roof. All these technical elements are not visible from the outside the building and they don’t impact on the surrounding landscape.
The materials that compose the building had also been chose in order to emphasis the difference between the external walls, compose by a rough dark surfaces and the internal light and smooth wooden panels of the hut which create a comfortable atmosphere.
Who influences you graphically?
We believe that images are a powerful medium in order to explain an architectural project. So the main questions is: how we could use this medium in the most effective way? What kind of representation we should use in order to enhance our project?
Starting from these considerations we pay attention to different architects that use different techniques in order to represent their projects. The realistic images of Mir, the drawing of Hoon Moon, the territorial representation of James Corner, the collages made by Beniamino Servino, the maquette realized by Amid.Cero9, the complex schemes of Cedric Price or the simpler ones of Bjarke Ingels Group are just some of the most well know examples that influences our works.
During the realization of the drawings for the project Capanna Lepina we were mostly inspired by the images of OMMX and Bast Architecture, the perspective sections of atelier Bow Wow and Uhlik Architekti, and obviously Mies van der Rohe collages.
How did the format of the competition influence the type of drawings you used?
In this competition our drawings were mostly influenced by the architecture form and dimension. In fact it would be difficult work on realistic images base on internal camera because the building was really small. We tried to elaborate some fish-eye renders but they weren’t effective in showing the relationship between elements and spaces, so we decided to realize digital collages.
Complementary we chose to use perspective sections in order to show at the same time the inner space and the technological details. Then technical drawings, such as plans, elevation and axonometric view, clearly show the and structural elements and the space measures.
What is the effect and purpose of the cut out silhouettes?
Silhouettes drive you into the built space. The direction to which a person walks or his gaze point at, the attitude, gestures and posture, all this features contribute to highlight a particular architectural element or perspective of the drawing, to create and accentuate a specific mood or ambience. At other times we look for unexpected behaviors that expand the possibilities of architecture, and hence its value.
At the same time we think that the emphasis should not be putted on the cut-out people, but on the space those are inhabitating. If you are focusing your attention on silhouettes instead of architecture the image could not be considered a good architectural representation.
What were the most important aspects when framing each view? Was there something in particular you wanted to convey?
The design proposal aims to consider the interior as a composition of different spaces. In order to emphasize this choice, the indoor illustrations are based on a central perspective focused on three main design objects that characterize and organize the inner space: the kitchen table, the steel stair and the sofa. Meanwhile all the images were conceived as a composition of planes in perspective, similar to a cardboard scenery or a Wes Anderson’s movie framing. In the foreground you find the main design objects, than the silhouettes, while the background makes possible to understand the relationship with the external landscape or between the internal rooms.
COnversely the external view is not a central perspective to better show the peculiar roof shape. At the centre of the view is find the corner window, the main element of the hut, that relates the internal space and the surrounding landscapes.
Leonardo Ramondetti (Arch.), Graduated at Politecnico di Torino | Ph.D. Candidate in Urban and Regional Development at Politecnico di Torino | DIST – Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning
Marco Lagamba (Arch.), Graduated at Politecnico di Torino | Freelance architectural and graphic designer at ACC naturale architettura Arch. Cristiana Catino, graphic and furniture designer at Prototipo
Cinzia Stella (Arch) graduated at Politecnico di torino | Architect at ASA, Asrbeitssgrupper für Siedlungsplanung and Architektur in Zurich
Chiara Viano (Arch.), Graduated at Politecnico di Torino | Architect at Studio Inambiente, Collaborator at Architettura Senza Frontiere Piemonte Onlus (ASF Piemonte)