The apartment is a unit of a building of the late 50s in the center of Turin, a few steps from the Mole Antonelliana.
Since 2011, when the firm was born, in the various projects that involved us, at the end of each project, our recurring activity was to evaluate what we could improve in the process, both in design and in construction, to make more efficent our architectural way.
We tried to improve some issues related to the project and its different phases, issues related to the ralational aspects with customers and workers, and last but not list, we asked ourselves about what to improve about the methods of construction used and the related techniques.
We have identified aspects that lead us to question some methods that are considered “traditional”.
Very often, in fact, traditional costruction methods have developed and sedimented for teir flexibility and alleability but not for their efficiency. They are probably consequent to practices in which there weren’t clear definitions of roles, activities that were mostly informal and in which the choices were made also duringg the course of the work, leaving the freedom to post design decisions or to remedy situations that were not foreseen.
This scenario absolutely required a plastic and moldable construction method, which has always been supported in the typical brick / plaster partitions method.
It is really efficient a technique in which to build a wall, first it is built, secondly it is partially demolished to give space to the systems, thirdly it is plastered with two applications and then it is painted?
Do we really think that this process, which often lasts for months and which needs 4 different workers, is an economic and optimized system? (Masonry-construction wall, masonry-creation of system traces, closing system traces, plasterer in two steps, decorator in two/three steps.
If the project is defined in advance, it is not advisable to adopt alternative and more sophisticated systems? Systems in which the different partitions can be designed specifically for their stratigraphy, acoustic and thermal structural resistence, and have the possibility to choose material and surface appearance.
It is not preferable to opt for assembly and / or assembly, without the use of binders, lime and water?
As Jean Prouvè has summarized in his work, by arranging conceptual aspects and constructive methods, there is the possibility to clarify forms and functions, and to optimize their technique.
This project was a field of experimentation in which we had the opportunity to put into practice some of these reflections. A single brick was not used during its construction.
The 130sqm apartment is initially “emptied” throught the demolition of all the elements without structural function and is stripped of its previous texture to make room for a new texture: a lightweight structural frame-construction system made of wood.
Through the total demolition of the internal partitions, continuing with the rebuilding of the systems and the laying of a cleaning screed, we obtain a “clean” site. As a result of this, no other work is carried out except for the dry assembly of prefabricated birch walls.
The millimetric survey of the boundary walls and the new electrical and hydric systems allowed to obtain precise drawings necessary for the production and pre-assembly in the workshop in 1: 1 scale of the whole apartment in all its parts (walls and furniture).
The new floorings made before the laying of the wooden walls follow the layout of the rooms of the original apartment. Finishing changes (colored epoxy resin) and changes in parquet direction accentuate the old layout.
The new wooden partitions, on the contrary, define a new distribution by showing situations in which the floor of an area becomes part of another environment and in which the horizontal cladding does not find limits in its boundary walls but invades the adjacent spaces.
The distribution, in contrast to the rectangular shape of the apartment, develops along two longitudinal diagonals that divide the living area from the sleeping area and distribution spaces.
The same diagonals become privileged direction to appreciate both Mole Antonelliana and Palazzo Nuovo, something that could not happen in the previous distribution.
We get therefore a very bright living area open on three sides including living room with kitchen and a bathroom and a double sleeping area sectioned at the entrance.
The perimeter walls are painted in a neutral color to contrast the new wooden texture.
There is an alternation of volumes that in their arrangement become walls, and which compose and alternate full and empty spaces.
There is the search not to define the spaces, but to interpenetrate them, working in section and in the plant at the same time, overlapping two-dimensional and three-dimensional layers. The definition of limits is denied, there is a desire to highlight borders but to prudently go beyond them.
The use of “in line” construction details thus becomes indispensable for obtaining these spatial compositions, an element obliged for a reading of the contained meaning.