Cascina Adelaide – Expansion

P3 November 2015

Barolo (CN) Type: Expansion Completion: August 2016 Images: Fiorenzo Calosso It has been two years since the expansion of the Cascina Adelaide: a silent volume located among the soft foothills of Barolo, where tradition is guarded and where the grapes are transformed to brillant wine. By following the project criteria outlined in the past years, the intervention strngthen the external working areas through the creation of a shelter that protects the entrance to the wine cellar and the expansion of the existing porch, where the agricultural machines are stored. The project renews itself with the Company. Together with the interventions on the working areas, the image of the entire complex is enriched with the aim to balance and connect the different parts. In that singular vision, the decoration of the ancient farm is animated, the horizontal chromatic stripes vibrate sinuously, recalling the image of the gentle solpes of the surrounding hills. The new shelter at the entrance of the wine cellar is like a petal extending its cantilever body on the tiny front yard, inviting to the entrance. Here, a new wood frame declares the doorstep and announces the passage between the chaotic outside world and the wine cellar, where a silent metamorphosis happens, guarded underneath a soft layer of grass.

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Trasfigurazione Church

P27 December 2011

Alba (CN), Italia Type: New construction Client: Diocese of Alba - Parrocchia Natività di Maria Ss Completion: 2009 Area church: 550 sqm Area parish house: 900 sqm Seats: 400 Immages: Pepe Fotografia Plan: Archicura The area on which the parish buildings stand stretche along an artificial canal into a long and narrow plot of land.  It is a fortunate coincidence that in order to reach the Church it is necessary  to cross this stream of water, which symbolizes Spiritual rebirth. The church, which resembles a tent or a hut, is situated on a green lawn. Similarly to a tent,  the church is made of big sheets covered with metallic layers of grey zinc- titanium alloy supported by an iron structure that cannot be seen either from outside nor from inside the church. Through the church and at the top of the building, the wind parts the sheets, thus letting light seep through narrow rifts that have been deliberately placed so as to diffuse light inside the tent without producing excessive dazzling effects. Artificial lighting replicates as much as possible the tone of natural daylight. The building that hosts the religious works and the rectory are both located in a very simple construction. In front of this building is a completely white porch which links the building to the church. Therefore, two main chromatic values characterize the complex: the glossy grey of the zinc-titanium alloy covering the church and the clear white of the church and rectory's vertical walls. The building's plan, develops along a lengthwise axis which cuts through the Baptistery, the Ambo  and the Altar. The space at the two ends of the building is left “open”. Here is where the main entrances are, symbolizing the temple's evangelic opening towards humanity along the “ path,  truth and life”. The internal walls of the church are plastered. The leaning surfaces of the roofing remind one of curtains that drop from the top, where natural and artificial light comes from. This effect is rendered by using  sheets of drywall supported by metal substructures. Inside the church, along the fragmentary sections on the main eastern side, are the liturgical “symbols”: the Baptistery, the Organ, the winter Chapel and the Blessed Sacrament Church. On the two western ends of the buildings are the two reconciliation rooms, separated from the rest of the space by vertical walls that reach the the tent-like structure's own walls. The table of the altar has a rectangular or square base (in the shape of an upside down pyramid) to symbolize that its roots are deep in the ground and its ambitions tend towards the infinite sky. The Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Word are celebrated on the presbytery, placed on a platform as to represent the dominant centre of the room. The winter church also looks onto the altar through a glass wall that separates it from the liturgy room. The baptistery is located under the triangular bell tower. Direct access to the baptistery is offered through the glass wall that looks onto the liturgy room, so as to ease access to the altar from the baptistery.  The baptismal font offers immersion to adults or normal pouring for baptizing infants. A space encircled by a leaning glass wall, in a more secluded side, hosts the winter chapel and the tabernacle of the Holy Sacrament. This can easily be accessed by the priest. During festivities  celebrations can be  followed through the glass door.

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Banca Sella Corporate University

P25 April 2010

Biella, Italy Type: Refurbishment Area:  22.000 sqm Completion: 2010 Images: Barbara Corsico in collaboration with arch. Francesco Bermond Des Ambrois The wool mill is situated on the banks of  the Cervo river, in the city of Biella. This building is one of the numerous reminders of the region's industrial history. It is therefore an important site from a  historical point of view, but also from the point of view of the history of industrialization in general.  It is in fact a series of buildings and constructions that  bear witness to the evolution of industrial development through time, from the irrigation ditch and the windmill,  to the paper factory built in 1548, to its final destination as a building dedicated to the textile industry. The original premises that hosted Quintino Sella's residency, the paper factory and the wool mill (spinning, weaving and dyeing) were built between 1700 and the 1930's and are still standing. This makes the estate that hosted the Sella wool mills an interesting site from the point of view of industrial archaeology. In fact it allows one to draw a pretty accurate picture of the passage from  artisanal handicraft to industrial production, in terms of both manufacturing processes and the evolution of construction typologies. Throughout the years, the existing buildings have hosted different businesses: the Sella Foundation, which preserves and promotes the memories found in the sources and documents kept by the Sella family, the offices of Banca Sella's data centre, as well as Banca Sella's Corporate University. Renovation works in the offices of the Data Centre began in 2007 and have included important structural interventions as well as reinforcement of vaults, intermediate floors and flat roofs. External landings and building fronts have been restored and the deteriorated plaster has been renovated. The new offices have been rearranged according to an open space philosophy. Therefore, meeting rooms, relax areas and services have been set out. It has also been necessary to re-define vertical links by introducing a new staircase inside the main building. In 2007 we also started on work to preserve and restore the nineteenth century buildings that once hosted the weaving and dyeing operations in order to create spaces for Banca Sella's Corporate University. The external load-bearing walls of these buildings are made of coated solid bricks, wooden or metal shed shingles covered with Marseillaise patterned terracotta roof tiles. They were all in serious decay. The partially collapsed shingles and the lack of window and door frames had led to considerable rising damp, while the floor had been taken over by spontaneous vegetation. It has therefore been necessary to renovate the entire estate by reinforcing the vertical and horizontal structures, completely remaking the roof using techniques that would produce a similar effect to the pre-existing structure.  Steel door and window frames  similar to the original ones but compliant with current regulations concerning safety and energy conservation, have been installed.  Preservation and restoration works have also included the construction of partitions to create spaces such as a hall and reception, staircases and lift areas, classrooms, relax areas, and a multi-purpose room. Finishing works have included coating with plaster that would suit the historical character of the walls, painting, and new floor laying works. The buildings that once hosted the boiler have now been adapted to contain the electricity and water plants. Works have also been carried out in the adjacent Factory's Garden that was in an extremely neglected condition. The new square has been turned into parking lots that can be used as permanent or temporary parking spaces. The garden has been rearranged along a path that allows visitors to visit in comfort. The aim has been to turn this space into an area where the employees of the Banca Sella Group and those attending courses can relax and gather. The garden renewal project has been inspired by the concept of space divided into “rooms”, meaning areas of mostly defined and regular shapes, each one of which has a specific function.  

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Cascina Adelaide

P15 June 2009

Barolo (CN) Type: Expansion Area:  1,472 sqm Completion: June 2004 Images: Fiorenzo Calosso, Pepe Fotografia In the area of Barolo grapevines grow on the low hills of the sun drenched Langhe, offering grapes  “the song of the earth”. A new, secret construction stands under a green layer, as soft as the surrounding landscape, in the midst of  mysterious obscurity. This new cellar takes shape on a patch of land between the sky and the vineyards, following the natural trends of metamorphosis that turns grapes into bright wine. The project was carried out on a small valley floor between a local road and the small river Rio della Fava in Barolo. Careful research and attention to the surrounding hills has inspired the design of a building totally covered with grass.  The estate has been built at about 5.50 metres  below the level of the existing farm. The new and quiet construction gently approaches the town of Barolo with the strength of a new and contemporary architectural style. The green layer moves away from the existing building and descends to the ground, gently  linking the new construction with the level of the existing countryside. This creates a small farmyard in the shape of an arc carved on the hill. This arrangement allows for the building to stretch towards the valley, similarly to the countless hill sides of the Langhe area. The building therefore looks like an additional hillside to  a  landscape of precious rows of vines. In other words, it does not alter its surroundings and rather adds “inner” values through the essential metamorphosis that turns grapes into wine. The hypogeal building suggests the idea of a stretched and slender hillside. It is totally under ground and covered with a layer of water-proof polyolefin, coated with a green roof at least 40 cm thick, on top of the numerous drainage, insulation and protective layers. On the last green layer, vegetation was grown using special established systems. This level has been joined to the surrounding grounds that stretch towards  the small river so as to define and mould, with soft linking shapes, the cellar's roof, laying on the river without touching its banks that are naturally kept green. The small hillside rises and thus creates  a gash that moves up and opens onto the western side along the road and gives way to a wide rift with split edges, thus revealing the porch in front of the entrance and the small round courtyard.  This element catches the attention of those who come from the valley, showing a transparent wall which opens onto the accesses to the building for operators, finished and unfinished goods and mechanical equipment. The journey continues towards the inside of the building  where grapes are turned into wine, to then come out onto the same porch from which it has started.  “Fermentation and transformation of the fruit has led the covering ground to rise” thus affecting the surrounding landscape. The highest part of the estate starts from an arc shaped pocket of land that looks onto the hill and the land on which the precious grapes grow. This is the spot where the winery is best represented and the wine best tasted. The room, accessible from the farmyard level of the pre-existing Adelaide farm, through wide glass surfaces, looks onto the opposite hill and, below, onto the rooms for wine  aging, winemaking and bottling. The load bearing structure is covered with a layer of green vegetation kept flourishing through an  automatic irrigation system which allows for an evergreen blanket. The system includes  continuous levels of water containers placed only 30 cm below the ground, which evaporate and thus supply the root system of the green blanket with water, while at the same time stabilizes temperatures inside the building. The building's bays (mesh 8.00x 8.00 m) have basement windows that  appear on the green blanket above in order to let air flow through each one of them. The back of the hypogeal building reduces the internal height (5.5m) to a minimum of 2 metres, where services are found.

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I Castelli Restaurant

P5 August 2008

Alba, Italy Type: Expansion Area: 1.000 sqm Completion: 2013 Images: Archicura The project involves the construction of a new restaurant on the roof-terrace of the hotel “I Castelli” in Alba. The building on which we had to “insist” is a creation of the late '80s, whose volume and materiality represent a declaration with which, by their very nature, it was not so easy to talk with. In addition there were already several elements, not related to each other, emerged in different stages of life the hotel itself. First of all, some brick “towers”, compact and rigid, containing the outlets of all the hotel facilities (these elements are present from the first draft of the project), and secondly a metal structure, consisting of a large circular columns supporting curved truss lightened by holes (2005/2006), made both to cover the space, both for supporting of solar panels. Around these elements we had to create a fluid, functional, light and airy space, split in half between the areas for customers and those for kitchens and accessories. Despite the presence of “obstacles” the space should have result as free and open as possible. With these premises, was born a volume fully plugged under the existing roof. The volume, although formally one element is, in reality, composed by two “souls”: that of amusement, transparent and light that has been made with three long glass walls, and that of the preparation, which is represented with three walls completely covered with sheets of zinc-titanium. Internally, the two souls are divided by a corridor that starts from the existing stairwell and reaches up to the window and then opens directly onto the terrace. One of the key ideas of the project was to keep the ducts completely visible and then to create an entirely new and different element that, using the ducts curves and forms as a starting point, will almost completely detache from them so to attract the attention, hiding what there is above, but gently. Thus were born the blades: a soft sign that descends from the ceiling, which accompanies the ducts but it has gone away, taking the sinuous movements of the rows of the vineyards . So the public space is characterized by these smooth wooden curves hanging from the ceiling and that, after all, emphasize, in a diaphanous way, all the existing structure, completely painted in white, and the new ducst, also completely white. The visual and sensory experience is very special, and materials (wood on the ground and on the blades, white on structures and walls) soften and create a unique comfort throughout the whole room. The game of the alternation of curves and materials (wood and white paint) is perceived across the hall, to the point at which a volume of corten comes off and emerges. The corten, while having very different characteristics and while coating a body that does not have curves, however, does not intervene on the soft atmosphere of the environment. The volume contains the buffet furniture, ready to appear and disappear at every opportunity. The corten, from the main hall, turns in the hallway, making the headway to a series of playful elements that punctuate the space, both internally and externally. In the corridor, as a matter of fact, silhouettes of bottles of different shapes and sizes have been obtained in the very sheets of the corten covering. Backlit, playful and smiling. As well as playful and light-hearted is the corten on the terrace: from slab carved the corridor it turns into shape ... but what a shape! A number of men and bottles, straight and crooked, large and small decorating the metal grids necessary to define and cover the space: the “drunken”, light-hearted but not excessive, scattered in the open air, to gaze the view from the top! Particular attention was placed on lighting: in the room, thanks to long strips of LEDs, accompanies the blades accentuating the forms, while, when the LEDs are associated with the corten, they emphasize and enhance the non puckish character of objects.

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San Cassiano Church

P17 June 2001

Alba (CN), Italy Type: New construction Area: 200 sqm Completion: 1975 Architects: Ugo Dellapiana, Beatrice Tessore, Sebastiano Rao Images: Archicura The building is a symbol of the early reforms originating from the Second Vatican Council. The two paths that lead to the entrance at the side of the sanctuary separate the numerous and different ways of accessing the church. These are then channelled at the back of the room. The map of the church is therefore completely turned upside down, thus hinting at the Holy Spirit’s indifference towards worldly matters in favour of the path drawn by faith. This leads us towards the Altar which is located under the light coming from the overhead, which in the church spreads everywhere from above. The roof is a big tent hanging between the bent walls that define the outline of the building, and pierced by the four glass openings that correspond to the two confessionals, the central Baptistery and the “schola cantorum”, beyond the big opening on the Apse. Curved lines draw the profiles of the walls and convey towards the presbytery. They outline the various spaces within the church: two confessionals, the arch in the sacristy, in the apse, in the baptistery and the two side entrances connected to two external spaces that “prepare believers to enter the church”. The building wraps believers, thus telling about God’s word, with a kind of charm that gathers Christians and leads them to walk the Path of Truth and Holy Life. A nearby building hosts the church’s works and administrative activities, with a meeting room and accommodation for priests. The façade that looks towards the side of the church traces its profile with flexibility and total adherence. Soon, the mechanical pipe organ in wood and tin belonging to the “schola Cantorum” will be placed in the apse as a gathering spot for the community of believers. Charmed by the word of the Gospel, Christians will come together to share their faith, accompanied by the music that will express men’s gratitude towards God’s generosity in bestowing Grace upon believers, seen as loved creatures. The light that comes from above, the wrapping walls that lean towards the altar, together with the different liturgical symbols found in the church (such as the baptistery, confessionals, altar and apse), persuade believers to become a part of the community and share their faith and prayers.

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Complex for Spiritual Exercises of the Diocese of Alba

P25 April 2001

Loc. Altavilla, Alba (CN), Italy Type: Expansion and refurbishment Area: 4,451 sqm Completion: 2003 Images: Archicura The underground room is part of a pre-existing building dedicated to cultural and religious meetings and located on a hill near the city of Alba. Three long gashes offer direct natural illumination to the underground room. These gashes are placed along the main sides of the rectangle, covered by a vault of successive arches that function as the base of the construction. The source of light is when the sun is directly overhead. This mirrors the spiritual intentions of the meetings that take place in the room. The anti-vibration soundproof system is achieved by the use of perforated wood acoustic panels placed on the ceiling and, partially, on the walls.  

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