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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

Social housing in Elmas, Italy by 2+1 officina architettura

July 6th, 2011 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: 2+1 officina architettura

2+1 officina architettura has recently completed a housing project in Elmas, a small town in the south of Sardinia, Italy. The office, which finds its field of action between artistic design and architecture, seeks for experimentation within contemporary design thinking, ‘aiming for the development of contemporary art and architecture and direc­ting their own intellectual, professional and human resources for the improvement of society and ethics’. Amid a building context fully regulated to prevent and constrain rather than experiment with new architectural solutions, 2+1 has demonstrated how to make the best of it, turning those constrictions upside down.

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Pierluigi dessì/Confinivisivi)

Strictly aligned along the street, the new housing structure stands out from the surroundings with its white colour, which serves as a flat canvas for the mustard-yellow composition of the openings. These windows, in two different sizes, create a vibrant and binomial play of open/closed. Entrance to the different housing units, either the duple­xes on the ground floor or the rest of the apartments, is achieved through the inner courtyard. Here the secondary, southeast facade results in more articulation in terms of volume, highlighting a continuous covered balcony that connects the mesh-covered exterior staircase with the different units. Both the facade’s disposition of openings and its colour palette recall the street appearance.

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Pierluigi dessì/Confinivisivi)

Some elements – such as the balcony cantilevering 1,5 meters from the vertical plane of the facade, or the exterior staircases – find an alternative shape in order to fulfil the programme requirements. The expertise of the designers it makes possible to undress the redundant layers, getting the most out of the essence and core values of those ele­ments. With this newfangled and engaging design, 2+1 definitely challenges a building practice characterized by a market rule approach.

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Pierluigi dessì/Confinivisivi)


Detailed description of the systems applied in order to improve the energy performance and sustainability of the building. The north-south orientation of the two facades has an effect on the disposition of inside spaces, relative to the slee­ping areas placed at north and living areas paced at south. The summer solar radiation on housing units is controlled through a walkway balcony / brise soleil screen, which depth is evaluated in order to respond in a best way to the different variation of solar radiation, both in summer and winter. On the north side, full shutter panels work as fur­ther protection by cold north winds.

Side View (Images Courtesy Pierluigi dessì/Confinivisivi)


The optimization of economic resources is reached through a synthesis of the building geometry, a wise selection of construction material, using technologies readily available in the territory. The use of material as Abet laminate Meg permit high performance of weathering resistance with a reduction of construction costs.



Description of the design strategies applied in order to improve social integration, interaction among residents and their security. The entrance to each housing unit is granted by an inside court, served by an external stair and walkway balconies. This solution guarantees the social security relative to a periphery contest where the building is set and, at the same time, benefits to cohabitation and social integration.

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Categories: Housing Development, Residential

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