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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.

Shift housing in Cremona, Italy by AquiliAlberg

February 22nd, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: AquiliAlberg

Shift Housing Construction site is completed in Cremona area, designed by AquiliAlberg. The proposed typology renew the “rank houses” which are manipulated and reinterpreted by the Milan Office to improve at best the site characteristics and the context, which is the natural park of Serio River.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

  • Architects: AquiliAlberg
  • Name of Project: Shift housing
  • Location: Cremona, Italy
  • Client: Private investor
  • Period: 2008 – 2009
  • Phase: Preliminary design, Definitive design, Site supervision
  • Photography: Fabrizio Marchesi

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

  • Site area: 1000 sqm
  • Volume: 2000 mc
  • Year: 2008
  • Design team: Ergian Alberg and Laura Aquili with Alessio Pucci, Alexandros Franzolini, Christian Ronchi
  • Structural engineer: Studio Polis
  • Consultants: Studio Polis, Alessandro Stroligo


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

This housing project is developed in almost one thousand square meters area and it is composed by six apartments that grow two floor of the ground; in addiction the first floor is lifted from the ground to ensure a best privacy, at the same time, to project apartments interiors to the wide nature, which is in front of the main elevation. The concept idea came from a deep research firstly on typology and secondly on the general quality of spaces, orientation and relation with surroundings context. The primary aim of this study is the dialogue between Architecture and Environment, in order to achieve an high quality of living from the synthesis of artificial and natural elements.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

Wide and deep private external lodges are designed to valorize the relation between the building and the natural site, these terraces add space otherwise not suitable for building and in addiction improve the relation between interior and exterior, gaining the maximum advantage from the beautiful view on the Park.

Concept design is defined by a smart game of prospective to cope with the small dimension of the site and with the restriction due to the local buildings regulations. The two levels off the ground shift between each others thanks to two opposite rotations of 4 degree, increasing the prospective effect which able to rise dramatically the depth of the point of view, adding considerably the quality of the space.

This is the origin of the project’s name: Shift Housing.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

The scenographic effect is technically obtained by means of a simple trick: the basement of the main elevation, that goes out from the ground of 1.2 meters, rotate clockwise, meanwhile the first floor of the main elevation rotate in a counterclockwise direction. Two volumes are generated with two opposite directions, which create a X shape facade. Designed this way for structural reasons as well, the existing void between the two volumes is a strong sign that emphasize the prospective views, making incredibly dynamic the project.

The view through the natural park guide the main orientation of the building and the opening of the lodges. To complete the residential use, the fruition of the green areas is studied deeply. Private gardens help social interactions and make better vision from the lodges to the landscape, assuring the privacy too.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

The green of the garden, filled with ornamental essences, brings a quite atmosphere and domestic peace.

Lodges instead, which have teak wooden floor for exterior, open themselves to the outside and create a direct relation with the context, but by means of the shifting floors, a high level of privacy is achieved for all apartments. These open but private spaces become finally a filter between the intimacy dimension of the habitations and the external environment. Then, the first level has been resided up of about one meter from the ground, to increase the level of privacy for its apartments. This vertical movement adds space to create openings which bring natural light to the large parking at the basement level.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

Every apartment will have an open space: a double garden at the first floor and a large lodge at next levels. So an innovative compromise between public and private space is defined, in which people could see themselves part of a small community but simultaneously safe in their private flats.

It is a housing project where the best aspect of the community life, like sharing of services and green spaces, and on the other side, the comfort of private villas, with independent entrances, gardens and balconies, are perfectly combined. Cores divide the two main elevations in three well defined areas and the outwards movement of the lodges is proposed on the rear elevation too.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

The two main elevations are designed with a slightly different language because of their own relations with the context, but they have a close connection between each other though. In fact, the two elevations generate simultaneously a symbolic hug to the Serio Park and a view to the urban area on the back.

Finally the result, with the big lodges one span roof, is a strong dialogue and a seductive exchange between volumes and voids, lightness and dynamism.


Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi

The roof is designed flat to facilitate (and drive to) the installation of photovoltaic systems. In fact, from an energetic point of view, AquiliAlberg office, thinking to sensible habitations in continuous evolution, predisposed the building for the best integration of a photovoltaic system, which being designed previously it will be perfectly integrated in the architectonic project.

Coherently with mutations of the contemporary way of living, the exchange between human being and environment do not ignore the strong identity of the project, necessary component to increase the sense of belongings of inhabitants to a innovative model of  sustainable development.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

AQUILIALBERG architecture & design studio – Milan – Italy

Laura Aquili (1973) & Ergian Alberg (1972), architects & designers, have worked in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Rome, London and Beijing for different internationally recognized offices: Zaha Hadid, OMA, UNStudio, ONL and Fuksas, where they have been responsible for different scale projects, from product design to architecture.

In 2006 they founded in Milan the AquiliAlberg studio, where they work on architecture, design and graphics with an experimental and innovative approach, combining their multidisciplinary experience gained from abroad, with their background rooted in graphics and the arts.

Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

The first design project, the side-table Vertigo, marks the beginning of the collaboration with Moroso in 2007.

In 2007, they were selected by Corian to design a limited edition object, the Fossil tray, for the event “Corian: 40 years / 40 designers”, a travelling exhibition presented in New York, London, Frankfurt, Paris, Oslo, Brodeaux and Bruxelles.

The first interior design project marks the collaboration with Christie’s auction house, for which they designed the new headquarters, new offices in Milan and the new layout for auctions of Milan at Palazzo Clerici and Rome at Palazzo Lancellotti.


Exterior View (Images Courtesy Fabrizio Marchesi)

The studio completed in 2009 an housing project in Cremona.

Also, 2009 saw their first installation and graphics project for the Triennale di Milano. The exhibition “The fragile city“, curated by sociologist Aldo Bonomi, was staged successfully in the prestigious location in Viale Alemagna, in Milan.

The first project in the fashion world marks the collaboration with designer Neil Barrett for which they have designed the backdrop of the fashion show in Milan, AW2010.

At present the studio is working on diffrent projects such as: an ambitiuos touristic harbour in Jesolo, an hotel, a residential building in Switzerland, some installations, design projects and international architectural competitions.


Rendering 01

Their clients include, Moroso, Fiam, Ernestomeda, Kundalini, Corian, Serralunga and Ritzenhoff, for which they have participated at the Salone del Mobile, ICFF, 100% Design, Design Annual, Ambiente, Maison & Objet and IMM Cologne.

Provincia di Milano and Camera di Commercio awarded AquiliAlberg, “New Creative & Innovative Company 2008″.

Laura Aquili & Ergian Alberg regularly write about architecture and design on different italian magazine and newspaper such as Il Sole 24 Ore, Interni, L’Arca, Progettare and L’Industria delle Costruzioni.


Rendering 02

They participated at the first edition of the international format Pecha Kucha Night in Milan, Innovation Circus event, Rizoma (Young Architects Biennale), Beyond the Media 2009, and CanActions (Biennale di architettura in Kiev).

They write about “Emotional, digital and technological cross-pollination between design, art and architecture” in their blog, “Des-art-chitecture”, for the NOVA100 on-line newspaper, powered by Il Sole 24 Ore. Work of AquiliAlberg has been published and exhibited worldwide.

They have been teaching “Theoretical background on the influence of digital technology on society, culture & architecture”, at Delft University of Technology – International Master Programm ‘Hyperbody’, along with Kas Oosterhuis.


Rendering 03

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Category: Housing Development

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