House and city
The demilitarisation of the Fortress in 1778 initiated the process of transforming an area which provided "neither an advantage to the service, nor to the decorum of the city". The area was gradually converted into a place devoted to recreation and promenading.
“The Lizza, a paramilitary training area which faced the rear and the vegetable gardens of the palaces on the Camollia road, underwent a major transformation: with the adaptation of the garden, the palaces were drawn in a new direction, the vegetable gardens were filled in, and a unified series of residential buildings was completed”. (C. Merlini, La tradizione del luogo)
The dwelling, on two levels, resulted from the merging of two previous apartments and faces the three free sides of the building, which stands against the older, inward-facing structures on the urban layout that runs through the entire city.
The last sections of the common staircase, incorporated into the apartment, prevented the extension of the living area, which is a relational space, as well as the heart of the house.
The partial demolition of a load-bearing wall enabled the fusion of the space intended for the staircase with that of the living room, thus outlining a scenario which holds together figures placed on sequential planes, joined together by a horizontal, pure element, a parallelepiped of dark iron and pietra serena: a linear, suspended seat that supports the whole compositional palimpsest.
As a result of this, the living area now envelops and contains the staircase, which all the rooms of the house overlook while preserving, where necessary, the appropriate privacy.
An "eye" opened into the masonry permits observing those who enter the house and further back to lose the gaze among the gardens at the front of the building.
The first flight of the staircase, that leads from the entrance to the new distribution system, has been preserved, as well as a small fragment of the old cannicci ceiling, which has been restored to its original colour, a light blue, while the original stairhead was relocated to the the upper floor entrance, flanked by a new "step" made from the same material.
A large composite pietra serena slab allows a small riser to resolve the connections with the apartment floor and with the landing of the two flights of stairs.
Here, as at a crossroads, materials and forms densify in search of a stimulating coexistence, so as to underline the way in which the whole project, this "urban interior", establishes a dialogue with the old city.
The space of the staircase is then enhanced by a small terrace, a rest which anticipates the entrance to the attic and offers a reading of the living room from above.
Natural iron in bent slabs, with which some structural and compositional elements are made legible, is added to the traditional materials, such as plaster, wood and terracotta.
A series of lacquered wood panelings and storage units complete the composition, fulfilling the client's functional request while strengthening the expressive pursuit that guides the entire project.