Kengo Kuma & Associates who completed the CCCWall and the CCCloud, and client, Casalgrande Padana, recently implemented a significant architectural restoration project inserted in the Casalgrande Ceramic Cloud system: the spectacular landmark completed for the Reggio company only one year ago. The Old House is the result of an interesting project for the requalification of the existing item designed by Kuma with the sensitivity that characterizes his approach to the themes of tradition. The pre-existing building, a typical farmhouse of the Reggio countryside that survived the deep industrial changes in the territory, has been completely restored and recovered to the function of historical archive and documentation center of Casalgrande Padana. More images and project description after the break.
Designed to also house exhibitions, meetings and cultural events, the building and its surrounding garden interact with harmony with the neighboring Casalgrande Ceramic Cloud, the spectacular landmark designed by Kuma and inaugurated exactly one year ago. A surprising building where the experience of living is transformed into the experience of being. A place, as Kuma himself explained, where “Ceramics plays itself”.
Nothing is revealed externally of the small jewel that Kuma created in its interior, which is protected by the massive brick walls of the building, whose original image was carefully restored. The old house was severely deteriorated and required a radical restoration work, which was approached with rare sensitivity by the architect, without giving up the statement of contemporary issues and, simultaneously, without easily falling into the trap of mannerism. Ancient and modern are called to define a timeless space, loaded with meanings, anticlassical and ritual at the same time. Kuma’s focus on materials and their sustainable use translates into the ecology of gesture in this project, in the sense of measure, of synthesis, in the capacity to express simplicity in spaces filled with spirituality, where a primary role is played by fine porcelain stoneware.
For the Old House project, Kuma drew from the wide range of fine porcelain stoneware ceramic elements produced by Casalgrande Padana, which include Granitogres line, Unicolore series, Absolute White, already used for the construction of the Casalgrande Ceramic Cloud, which is appropriate for high-frequentation environments such as the Hall, the Old Tiles Room, the staircase and the Projection Room, as well as for pedestrian pathways and the external courtyard.On the other hand, the Granitoker line, Metalwood series, was used in its Bronze colour version for the document consultation room, for the space devoted to relax and for the related connection stair.
Drawing from the wide range of products manufactured by Casalgrande Padana, Kengo Kuma used two different lines of porcelain stoneware: Granitogres, Unicolore series, Bianco Assoluto, already used for the construction of the Casalgrande Ceramic Cloud, used for high-frequentation environments, such as the Hall, the Old Tiles Room, the staircase and the Projection Room, as well as for pedestrian pathways and the external courtyard. Granitoker, Metalwood series, in the Bronze colour, for the document consultation room, for the space devoted to relax and for the related connection stair.
Room are paved with 60×120 cm tiles treated with titanium Granitogres, Unicolore: Bianco Assoluto Granitoker, Metalwood: Bronze dioxide, which belong to the same stock of those used for the CCCloud. The stairs that lead upstairs have steps and landings made with thin steel cantilever tiles, also with glued ceramic tiles. The ceramic flooring tiles of the Projection Room are matched with a bed of white cobblestone (the same that surround the CCCloud).
The staircase has seats fully coated with porcelain stoneware tiles, characterized by rises with bores along the entire surface of the ceramic tiles to allow for the exchange of air through the air conditioning system. The ceiling of the Projection Room is embellished by an installation consisting of hundreds of ceramic tiles fluctuating in space, hanging from small metal cables. In the small service bathroom curved Bianco Assoluto tiles of the Unicolore series compose an unusual washbasin where water is dispensed by being pelted down in a thin veil along the wall. The Library Room is characterized by a shelf-wall with porcelain stoneware separators oriented in such a way as to take on a multiplicity of shapes depending on the different position from which it is observed, to re-propose the sensation of dynamism that is perceived when moving around the CCCloud.
The other spaces are characterized by 15×90 cm Metalwood tile floors laid in an orderly manner, aligned with edges and walls. The same material was used for the lift cabin floor and the toilets at the second floor. The Metalwood series was also selected for the old staircase by adopting an unusual laying technique with the rise and tread arranged to form a sharp edge. The thickness of the tile of the tread remains visible and is pleasantly matched with the bronze coloured surface. The outdoor areas have been paved with Bianco Assoluto porcelain stoneware tiles to create a non-slip bushhammered surface.
The pathways and the square have been paved with radially arranged tiles, whose fulcrum is located in the vicinity of the CCCloud. This laying mesh determined a progressive opening of the interspaces between the tiles towards the square. The spaces that have been created have been filled with small-size gravel on top of a drainage layer. This solution allowed the elimination of the traditional rainwater drainage grids.
Architects: Kengo Kuma & Associates
Location: Casalgrande, Reggio Emilia, Italy
Designers: Kengo Kuma, Javier Villar Ruiz, Ryuya Umezawa
Client: Casalgrande Padana
Project & Construction Manager: Mauro Filippini (Casalgrande Padana spa)
Project Coordinator: Angelo Silingardi (C.C. Prog.)
Structures: Enrico Rombi, Alberto Zen (C.C. Prog.)
Consultants for the Structures: Norihiro Ejiri, Takuma Sato (Ejiri Structural Engineers)
Old House Surface: 572 sq. m.
Surrounding Garden: 480 sq. m.
Date: September 2009 – August 2011