Location: Cremona, Italy
Design team: Ergian Alberg and Laura Aquili with Alessio Pucci, Alexandros Franzolini, Christian Ronchi
Structural engineer: Studio Polis
Consultants: Studio Polis, Alessandro Stroligo
Client: Private investor
Project area: 1000 sqm
Project year: 2008
Photographs: Courtesy of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.