With the Viale Giulini Affordable Housing project Alvisi Kirimoto is redesigning the outskirts of Barletta (Puglia) through a social housing intervention. The project, located in the south-west of the city, in the new Zona 167 district, aims to fuse the urban macro-scale with the domestic dimension, within a larger system of projects to revitalize the neighbourhood, including the Parco dell’Umanità — Design of the pedestrian promenade by ABDR.
For this project, Alvisi Kirimoto created “compact and down-to-earth architecture”, as the architects describe it. With a sober and rigorous profile, the building relates to the city in a sculptural way, in stark contrast to the diverse, deafening context in which it is nestled, which lack green spaces and are characterized by ostentatious decorative solutions, and rigid housing and urban typologies.
The complex, which has 50 units including underground car parks and a ground floor dedicated to commercial activities, looks like a C-shaped monolith, spanning a height of six floors and a total area of over 5,000 square metres. The regularity of the elevations represents the main character of the building: the uniform dark grey brick curtain becomes a sort of neutral score where dynamic rhythms are delivered by protuding, niche white metal sheet elements.
The balconies overlook Viale Giulini to optimize the natural light, and are carved into the volume in the other elevations to limit the phenomenon of radiation. Protected from rain at the top and laterally by perforated sheet metal screens to increase the level of privacy, they house the technological infrastructures and drying racks on the sides. Their shape allows for maximum internal customization, without altering the general aesthetics of the facades.
During the day, natural light reduces the apparent weight of the building, the volumes of the loggias and balconies become slight, combining the material and the abstract, lightness and gravity with maximum simplicity. The ground floor of the building also transmits solidity and dynamism at once: the cladding starts directly from the ground, rooting the building, while the commercial glass floor ends on the street and on the other sides with a clear vertical diagonal cut, which boosts the volume.
The same inclination is applied horizontally in the connection between the lateral elevations and the main front, resolved with a flare, as well as the parapet on the roof, which hides the thermal solar panels. Functionally, the building is divided into three blocks, each of which has its own stairwell and elevator. The central staircase is completely glazed towards the courtyard, while the lateral staircases are naturally illuminated by a skylight, through which light filters into all levels through a large empty compartment, between the ramps and the elevator compartment.
All the apartments are organized around a courtyard, which occupies over 70% of the lot. The courtyard is designed as a small park, where the inhabitants can leave the chaos of the city behind, and enjoy trees and deciduous plants, which provide shade in summer and natural light in winter.
Rigorous lines, essential shapes and balanced colours: the result is a simple and refined design – in contrast with the eccentricity of the surrounding buildings – which restores dignity to social housing in the suburbs. A project that, with the same grace with which it stands, brings the theme of quality accommodation at affordable prices back to the heart of the architectural debate. Source by Alvisi Kirimoto.
- Location: Barletta, Italy
- Architect: Alvisi Kirimoto
- Project team: Massimo Alvisi, Junko Kirimoto, Chiara Quadraccia, Donato Labella
- Structural project: Ing. Antonio Salzo
- Installations and fire-prevention system: Tumulo & Denuzi Engineers
- Contractor: Edilbari s.r.l.
- Client: Edilbari s.r.l.
- Area: 5380 sqm
- Completed: January, 2020
- Photographs: Marco Cappelletti, Courtesy of Alvisi Kirimoto