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.
Redevelopment of Malga Fosse in Trento, Italy By Organic Scapes and Architecture [OS+A]
December 1st, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Organic Scapes and Architecture [OS+A]
The concept design proposal is based on the social aspect that defines every manufactured product within its geographical scope. This social aspect manifests itself through the design of an externally equipped public space, internal common areas with natural light, an elaborate landscape and hard-scape design, a predisposition of interesting observation points and the contemplation of their surrounding context, and the desire to accentuate a constant permeable state between external and internal spaces.
The blatant poetry of the site and the breaking power of the valleys and mountains that surround Malga Fosse are the main inspiring elements of the project proposal.
The initial all-embracing geometry of the project is deliberately simple, with an intentional formal resemblance and materiality which recalls that of a barn, a traditional building typology of this mountainous zone. Two basic geometric volumes appear as pure elements: one is a solid block made of stone at ground level and the other is a wooden block with a pitched roof at the first floor level above. Both these volumes are subject to the strong influence of the surrounding context which manifests itself through modifications at their base geometry. For example, the monolithic stone block at the ground level is broken up by exfoliating the stone on the west façade, allowing the light to penetrate into the interior space across elongated horizontal incisions, yet not completely opened.
Along the south façade, the landscape takes the upwind violently unearthing the building and making inexistent the limit between exterior and interior spaces. This semi-buried stone wall deflects its course towards the interior of the building, defining an organic and natural internal space while the perimeter wall defining the exterior of the building presents itself as a lighter and more transparent material, glass. Both the stone block and wooden block at the ground floor and first floor level respectively create a mutual dialogue through a common simplicity that defines both their language, yet both these elements have strong individual identities in their varying materiality and proportion. This evident contrast and physical detachment between the two blocks is purposely accentuated by the presence of a separating metallic element. As a result, the top wooden block acquires a sense of natural lightness, as if suspended, and is therefore not attached to its sculptural base below, the stone block which transformed by the forces related to the ground is capable of establishing a direct and poetic dialogue with its surrounding landscape by subjectively becoming a part of it.
On the first floor level the west façade breaks up as the wooden axes open vertically allowing natural light to enter the interior space. The configuration of the pitched roof, apart from abiding with the local code standards for snow loads, takes into consideration the different points of view of other neighboring mountains to create a harmonious integration of the building. The high formal, architectural and technological quality of the new building will become a point of interest for tourists, visitors and local inhabitants of this mountainous region during both summer and winter seasons alike.
The design of the exterior surfaces, landscape and hardscape, comes from the development of the geometry of the project which resulted in a series of sloped planes and curvilinear “organic” paths, defining areas intended mainly for movement and areas dedicated for rest. This superficial treatment of the ground foresees the use of natural materials such as local stone, wood and gravel. The design proposal of the landscape and vegetation is to create a small and diffused botanical garden, anticipating the placing of micro-areas of indigenous vegetative systems, characteristic of the local geographic environment and chromatically relevant to the complete project design. Planting will be specifically selected to guarantee a long term and properly scaled flourishing bloom throughout the course of the year, with a predefined chromatic variety of flowers and leaves. Given the geographic characteristic of the area and its evident exposure to the atmospheric agents, there will be a range of arboreal plants of medium and reduced development, herbaceous shrubs and various types of herbs.
The project proposal foresees the use of a structure completely made of wood, consisting of deep trusses and columns that rest on a concrete floor slab at the ground level. The upper volume consists of a pitched roof at variable heights with a double curvature on the north side and a rib structure denounced externally and connected with prefabricated elements entirely made of wood. The overall construction of this wooden volume occurs from an assembly of prefabricated elements on-site with the rib structure organizing the distribution of all secondary (both internal and external) structural elements.
This primary structure has spans of 850 mm between each rib, with a secondary structure organized as internal bays which define the openings towards the outside, dictating both the paneling of the roof, ceilings and pavements inside. There are three longitudinal spines spanning from east to west, embracing all the ribs together. Along these longitudinal spines, the ribs define the bays of the rooms from the corridors, as well as stiffening the primary structure. Also arranged along these spines, in a single volume entirely made of wood, are the room service areas, bathrooms and closets. The rib structure is distributed into evenly efficient spans, which in turn subdivide and distribute the bays, separating thus the adjacent rooms while acoustically isolating them. These ribs become lighter and open gradually towards the panoramic view of the valley, such to create a form of “telescope” towards the surrounding landscape. At the bracing of a single rib, the partitions of the bays of the rooms are used to strengthen the structure, avoiding the need for a truss system.