Human scale shapes - ISPLORA

Trailer Human scale shapes

The Italian squares drawn by Giorgio de Chirico represent metaphysical places where time is suspended and space is dilated and marked by long shadows, set in a fixed photographic frame that narrates a unified dimension where past and future merge into parallel horizons. Archetypal transcendent spaces that become theatre backdrops where architectural and geometric constructions are staged in a dissonant whole.

"The arched architectural structure is the metaphor of the eternal present, as an element that unites concreteness and abstraction, fullness and emptiness, interchange of interior and exterior, projection of light and shadow". (Baldacci 1997, p. 96)

Inspired by Giorgio De Chirico’s words, research associated with pure forms is transformed into a design approach that identifies the arch, the sphere and the cube as generative elements of internal spatiality, interpreted in different dimensional and functional realities, while always focusing on the human dimension. The juxtaposition of timeless geometric forms and the shrewdness of human-scale design result in an architectural composition that can accommodate various functional and dimensional interpretations. 

A domestic space, on the one hand, and a commercial space, on the other, become manifestos of this approach, which bears the signature of the Prato-based firm Bettazzi + Percoco architettiBranà 1915 – Archello’s Best Projects of 2020 award-winning project – seeks to open up to the city by becoming a metaphysical square itself, an interior that turns into an ideal continuation of the urban space, made of repeated round-arched wings that define and delimit spatiality that blends with the urban public fabric beyond the storefronts. The arched structure thus is the founding element of the intervention; the central monolithic artifacts, like vestiges of a lost architecture, define the central space that develops around the cube in dialogue with the luminous sphere above it.

Spaces made of human-scale forms, pure volumes and impalpable surfaces are also visible in the project Puglia e Sicilia si incontrano a Firenze, where the purity of forms serves as a scenic backdrop for the living area, in a series of arches and niches in warm and welcoming colors. Contemporary living capable of remodeling mid-20th century housing units and giving voice and a new shape to the typical farmhouses of Tuscan building tradition. Material textures emerge from the surfaces in composite wall textures, for new architectural skins that dialogue with the existing structures. As a background to the exposed beams, stones, bricks and bright contemporary grafts, the urban fabric in its complexity and the surrounding hills of Prato.

The architectural quality of the design, its relationship with space, its composition and arrangement within the urban fabric become generative themes of a landscape harmony, contributing to the balance between human being and architecture, between territorial scale and domestic intimacy, in the projects of the Renovation of the San Pio X building complex and the competition Le Piazze fanno Centro in Viterbo.

Continuous changes of scale from project to object, for a look at the future illuminated with creativity and new challenges. New environments dedicated to the community and to the theme of hospitality, in which forms and meanings, materials and volumes, translate into care at the scale of human beings, their gestures and deep needs.

Learning objectives:

  • The lesson highlights a design approach rooted in the use of pure forms, intended as elements generating a spatial concept that recalls the geometric and timeless spatiality typical of de Chirico, to create minimal compositional units with domestic and commercial purposes.
  • The theme of interior design – of commercial, collective and domestic spaces - is analyzed from different points of view: spatial research and technological solutions are explored in search of answers capable of translating into interventions that are grafted onto mid-20th century housing units and historical buildings typical of the Tuscan building tradition.
  • The lesson turns its attention to sacred architecture, in the project to reuse an ecclesiastical space in its entirety, consisting of an existing building and an adjoining collective area, delving into compositional themes of relationships between symbolic forms and meanings, materials and volumes, in a proposal that enhances the theme of hospitality.
  • The design of an urban system - of public and connecting spaces - becomes the protagonist of an in-depth urban planning study, where the human dimension merges with the choice of specific forms and materials that can determine environments and uses in a system for the community, inserted and rooted in the existing urban fabric.
  • The lesson shows a design approach interpreted at all scales - from urban planning to ad hoc designed detail - which focuses on contemporary living and the element-object in the appeal of pure forms and essential lines, innovative and traditional materials.

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