PRATI GRIES - IPES residential building

Arch. Marco Sette

Location: Bolzano (BZ)
Year: 2020
Category: Competition, residential

Collaborator: Alexandr Platon
The project lot is located in the heart of the Prati di Gries district and overlooks the central square. The design concept aims to create a building that will become a "symbol" of the district both in terms of architectural and functional quality, sustainability, harmonization with the context and in the interpretation of the housing and maintenance principles of the IPES.
The architecture of the building is characterised by clean forms, but with great expressive power in its simplicity. To further emphasise the "tower" character of the building, it was decided to create a double-height portico by means of light and protected supports made of high-strength Y-laminated timber, designed in this form to ensure easy passage for people. The portico leads to a glazed volume, clearly visible through the large meshes of the supports, intended for the public function spaces of the neighbourhood. Above the very "open" base is the compact volume housing the 33 dwellings on 8 floors. The regular volume of the residential part is characterised by a chequerboard of plastered panels (with different shades and textures) and full-height window openings. This formal characteristic is also given by a functional/technical choice to use prefabricated panels for the construction of the façade. The prefabricated light balconies, built in the residential part, with a depth of 1.80 m run all around the building, with parapets made of light metal profiles equipped with semi-dark panels to ensure the visual decoration of the façade without making the
parapet a bulky "presence". The crown of the building features wooden supports, echoing the language of the building's base, which enclose the photovoltaic and solar thermal panels. The wooden elements on the outside are deliberately limited for maintenance and durability. Nevertheless, the basement supports and the crowning are strongly characterising elements on an architectural level and contribute, by recalling the weaving or inlaying of wooden objects typical of the area, to make the building unique and recognisable, identifiable as a building "made of wood".
The apartments have been designed to distribute the kitchens and bathrooms around the perimeter, in order to have natural lighting and ventilation, as well as drainage columns in line with those below. All accommodation has non-adjacent living and sleeping areas between different units.
From a structural point of view, the building is designed to be built using prefabricated systems, ensuring the use of innovative technologies and reducing construction times. The wooden structural system is designed with beams and pillars: load-bearing pillars at the facades, load-bearing beams and panels for the X-Lam floors. This allows a free plan and guarantees great flexibility of use: it will always be possible to enlarge or reduce a dwelling by reconfiguring internal walls that are not load-bearing. A solid central core of reinforced concrete, which houses the stairwell and lift, guarantees safety in case of escape.